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General Policy Information


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Audit, Policy & Research Unit Manual

Code of Ethics

Mission Statement and Priorities

Recently Updated

Cross Reference

Latest Revision Date: 12/1/2014

Title 1 - Department Administration

1.010 - Authority and Jurisdiction

1.020 - Chain of Command

1.030 - Department Span of Control Chart

1.040 - Budget

1.050 - Grants

1.060 - Consultant Contract Administration

1.070 - Training

1.080 - Inspection and Audits

1.090 - Ticket Chain of Custody

1.100 - Ticket Audits

1.110 - Media Relations

Title 2 - Department Employment

2.020 - Appointments and Probation

2.030 - Retirements and Separations

2.050 - Collective Bargaining and Contract Management

2.060 - Grievances

2.070 - Performance Evaluations

Title 3 - Employee Welfare

3.035 - Reasonable Accommodation (ADA)

3.040 – Airborne Pathogens Control

3.045 - Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control

3.050 - Coordinating Officer Fatalities

3.070 - Performance Mentoring Program

3.080 - Travel Training System

3.090 - Employee Recognition Awards Program

3.170 - Honoring Those Killed in the Line of Duty

3.270 - Police Charity Committee

3.290 - Pre-Service/In-Service and Specialized Training

3.330 - Workplace Safety

3.340 - Employee Involvement Committees_JLMC

Title 4 - Human Resources

4.000 - Employee Move Tracking System (EMT)

4.005 - Police Employee Data System (PEDS)

4.010 - Employee Time Off

4.015 - Restricted Time Off for a Pre-Planned Event

4.020 - Reporting and Recording Overtime/Out of Classification Pay

4.030 - Jury Duty

4.040 - Sick Leave

4.050 - On-Duty Illness or Injury

4.060 - Long Term Disability Benefits

4.070 - Limited Duty Assignments

4.080 - Pregnancy

4.090 - Leave of Absence Without Pay

4.100 – Family and Medical Leave

4.110 - Sick Leave Donation

4.120 - Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Leave

4.130 - Military Leave

4.140 - Military Spouse/Domestic Partner Leave

4.150 - Funeral Leave

Title 5 - Employee Conduct

5.001 - Standards and Duties

5.002 - Responsibilities of Employees Concerning Complaints of Possible Misconduct

5.010 - Civil Actions

5.020 - Gifts and Gratuities

5.030 - Preparing for Criminal Case Interviews

5.040 - EEO Complaints and Investigations

5.060 - Employee Political Activity

5.090 - Operations Bureau General Personnel Matters

5.100 - Operations Bureau Individual Responsibilities

5.120 - Secondary Employment

5.130 - Supervisor/Employee Relationships

5.140 - Bias-Free Policing

Bias-Free Policing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

5.150 - Use of Private Vehicles for City Business

5.160 - Citizen Observation of Officers

5.170 - Alcohol and Substance Use

5.175 - Critical Incident Stress Management Communications

5.190 - Court Appearances and Legal Proceedings

5.200 - Americans With Disabilities Act

Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure

6.010 - Reporting Arrests and Detentions

6.020 - Arrests and Detentions of Foreign Nationals

6.030 - Body Cavity Searches

6.060 - Collection of Information for Law Enforcement Purposes

6.120 - Impounding Vehicles

6.130 - Informant Management

6.135 - Cooperating Witnesses

6.140 - Locating a Cell Phone during an Emergency

6.150 - Advising Persons of Miranda

6.180 - Searches-General

6.181 - Performing Inventory Searches

6.185 - Search Warrants

6.210 - Strip Searches

6.220 - Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops & Detentions

6.250 - Use of Non-SPD Canines

6.280 - Warrant Arrests

6.290 - Juvenile Investigations and Arrests

Title 7 - Evidence and Property

7.010 - Submitting Evidence

7.020 - Found Property

7.030 - Firearms & Shell Casings

7.040 - Dangerous or Hazardous Evidence

7.050 - Checking Out Evidence for Court

7.060 - Releasing Evidence

7.070 - Converting Evidence for Department Use

7.080 - Money Evidence

7.090 - Photographic Evidence

7.100 - Fingerprint Evidence

7.110 - Recorded Statements

7.120 - Narcotics Evidence

7.130 – Narcotics Training Aid and Investigative Use Drug Property Release

7.140 – Firearm Training Aid and Investigative Use

7.150 - Non-Detainee Property for Safekeeping

Title 8 - Use of Force

8.000 - Use of Force Core Principles

8.050 - Use of Force Definitions

8.100 - Using Force

8.200 - Use of Force Tools

8.210 - OC Chain of Custody

8.300 - Use of Force Reporting and Investigation

Use of Force Public Safety Statement Card

Investigating Supervisor Scene Guide

Investigating Supervisor Precinct Guide

Investigating Supervisor Documentation Guide

Involved Officer Statement Guide

Witness Officer Statement Guide

8.400 - Reviewing Use of Force

Reviewing Lieutenant Guide

Reviewing Captain Guide

8.500 - Firearms Discharge Investigations

Officer Involved Shooting-Public Safety Statement Card

8.600 - Review of Firearms Discharges

Use-of-Force Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms

9.010 - Employee Dress Standards

9.020 - Uniform

9.030 - Equipment

Equipment Reference Catalog

9.040 - Uniform and Equipment Committee

9.050 - Clothing Allowance and Reimbursement for Personal Property

9.060 - Firearms

9.065 - Firearms Training and Qualification

9.100 - Department Firearms Management

Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security

10.010 - Parking at Department Facilities

10.020 - Physical Security of Police Facilities

10.060 - Holding Cell Camera System

Title 11 - Detainee Management

11.010 - Detainee Management in Department Facilities

11.020 - Transportation of Detainees

11.030 - Guarding Detainees at a Hospital

11.040 - Booking Adult Detainees

11.050 - Detainee Property

Title 12 - Department Information Systems

12.010 - Communications

12.030 - Computer Hardware & Devices

12.040 - Computer Software

12.045 - Booking Photo Comparison Software

12.050 - Criminal Records

12.055 - Criminal Justice Research

12.060 - Department Forms Control

12.070 - Department Publications

12.080 - Department Records Access, Inspection & Dissemination

12.090 - Departmental Correspondence

12.091 - Mobile Reporting Entity (MRE) Laptops

12.110 - Use of Department E-mail & Internet Systems

12.111 - Use of Cloud Storage Services

12.120 - Telephone and Facsimile Machine Use

Title 13 - Vehicle Operations

13.010 - Collisions Involving Department Vehicles

13.015 - Collision Review Board

13.030 - Emergency Vehicle Operations

13.031 - Vehicle Eluding/Pursuits

13.040 - Patrol Operations Equipment, Police Vehicles and Facilities

13.050 - Policing by Mountain Bike

13.060 - Specialty Vehicles & Equipment

13.080 - Use of Department Vehicles

Title 14 - Emergency Operations

14.010 - After-Action Reports

14.040 - Hazardous Conditions

14.060 - Serious Incident Plan

14.070 - Serious Injury or Fatality to a Police Officer

14.080 - Task Force Mobilization

14.090 - Demonstration Management

ICS Debrief Form

14.100 - Special Event Planning

Title 15 - Primary Investigation

15.010 - Arson Investigations

15.015 – Bomb Threats and Explosive Devices

15.020 - Charge by Officer

15.055 - Death Investigations

15.080 - Follow-up Unit Notification and Follow-up Investigation

15.090 - Graffiti Incidents

15.100 - Kidnapping

15.120 - Malicious Harassment

15.130 - Missing Persons

15.140 - Narcotics Activity Report

15.150 - Narcotics

15.160 - Marijuana Enforcement

15.180 - Primary Investigations

15.185 - Vulnerable Adults-Elder Abuse and Neglect

15.190 - Theft and Recovery of Vehicle, License Plates, or License Tabs

15.200 - Retail Theft Program

15.210 - Investigating Property Held by a Pawnshop or Used-Goods Store

15.215 - Domestic Violence Firearms Surrender

15.220 - Child Welfare

15.230 - Animal Control

15.240 - Boating Accidents

15.250 - Interpreters/Translators

15.260 - Collision Investigations

15.270 - Trespass Warning Program

15.275 - Enforcing Trespass in Parks

15.280 - DUI Investigations

15.290 - Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution (SOAP)

15.300 - Stay Out of Drug Areas (SODA)-Define Boundaries

15.310 - Foreign Nationals Seeking Asylum

15.320 - Police Action on Military Reservations

15.330 - Responding to Threats and Assaults on Officers

15.340 - Robbery Response

15.350 - Significant Incident Report

15.360 - Mobile Identification Devices

15.370 - Sexual Assault Investigation

Title 16 - Patrol Operations

16.010 - Adult Entertainment

16.020 - Alley Closure

16.030 - Citizen Rider Program

16.040 - Community Police Teams

16.050 - Death Notifications

16.070 - Responding to Monitored Alarms

16.080 - Fireworks Disposal and Disposition

16.090 - In Car Video System

16.091 - Body-Worn Video Pilot Program

16.100 - Patrol Training and Publications

16.110 - Crisis Intervention

16.130 - Sick and Injured Persons

16.135 - Excited Delirium

16.140 - Traffic Direction and Control

16.150 - Snow and Ice Plan

16.160 - Ticket Vendors

16.170 - Automatic License Plate Readers

16.180 - Patrol Operations Order

16.190 - Labor Management Disputes

16.230 - Issuing Tickets and Traffic Contact Reports

16.231 - Cancelling and Voiding Tickets

16.240 - Mutual Assistance

16.250 - Interaction with the University of Washington Police Department

8.200 – Use-of-Force Tools  

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


This policy addresses the use and deployment of all force tools that are available to sworn Department employees. The following force options are governed by this policy:

•    Beanbag shotgun

•    Canine deployment

•    CEW/Conducted Electrical Weapons (TASER)

•    Firearms

•    Impact weapons

•    Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray

•    Vehicle-related force tactics

•    Specialty unit weaponry

•    Hobble restraint

•    Neck and carotid restraint

The policies addressing and governing the use of specific force tools are 8.200-POL-1 through 8.200-POL-10, which are contained in the Use-of-Force Tools Policy Manual. Those policies and that manual have the full force and effect of SPD policy.

The Intended Purpose of Less-Lethal Devices

Less-lethal devices are used to interrupt a subject’s threatening behavior so that officers may take physical control of the subject with less risk of injury to the subject or officer than posed by greater force applications. Less-lethal devices alone cannot be expected to render a suspect harmless.

Support officers should be prepared to take immediate action to exploit the brief opportunity created by the less-lethal device and take control of the subject if safe to do so.

1.  Officers Will Only Carry and Use Weapons That Have Been Approved by the Department and That the Officer has Been Properly Trained and Certified to Use, Except Under Exigent Circumstances

Intentional or reckless violations of policy or training standards will result in discipline. Negligent violations of policy or training standards may result in discipline.

The use of improvised weapons will be subject to the same standards as approved weapons set forth in 8.100.

2.  Uniformed Officers Are Required to Carry at Least One Less-Lethal Tool

Uniformed officers who have been issued a CEW shall carry it.

3.  Sergeants and Lieutenants Will Ensure That Each Officer in Their Command is Trained and Certified on the Tools They Carry, as Required


4.  Officers Are Prohibited From Using Less-Lethal Tools as a Form of Punishment or for Retaliation


5.  Officers Are Prohibited from Using Less-Lethal Tools or Other Techniques in the Following Circumstances, Absent Active Aggression by the Subject That Cannot be Reasonably Dealt With in Any Other Fashion:

•    When the subject is visibly pregnant, elderly, pre- adolescent, visibly frail, or known or suspected to be disabled unless deadly force is the only other option


•    When the subject is in an elevated position where a fall is likely to cause substantial injury or death


•    When the subject is in a location where the subject could drown


•    When the subject is operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle and the engine is running or is on a bicycle or scooter in motion


•    When an individual is handcuffed or otherwise restrained


•    To escort, prod, or jab individuals


•    To awaken unconscious or intoxicated individuals


•    To prevent the destruction of evidence


•    Against passive or low-level resisting subjects


•    When the subject is detained in the police vehicle


Use-of-Force Tools Policy Manual

8.200–POL–1  Beanbag Shotgun

8.200–POL–2  Canine Deployment

8.200–POL–3  CEW/Conducted Electrical Weapons (TASER)

8.200–POL–4  Firearms

8.200–POL–5  Impact Weapons

8.200–POL–6  Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray

8.200–POL–7  Vehicle-Related Force Tactics

8.200–POL–8  Specialty Unit Weaponry

8.200–POL–9  Hobble Restraint

8.200–POL–10  Neck and Carotid Restraints


8.200–POL–1  Beanbag Shotgun

Effective Date:  1/1/2014

A beanbag shotgun is designed to temporarily interrupt the behavior of a suspect or dangerous individual, so that law enforcement officers can subdue and arrest that person with less danger of injury or death to themselves and others.

1.  Firearms Training Squad (FTS) Manages the Beanbag Shotgun Program

FTS will maintain the beanbag shotgun operator’s manual, develop curriculum, and conduct training and qualifications.

2.  FTS Will Train and Certify Operators Annually

Only officers who have been trained and certified are allowed to use beanbag shotguns. Beanbag rounds may only be used in a manner consistent with training provided by this Department.

3.  Officers Who Have Been Trained and Certified to Use a Beanbag Shotgun and Have Been Issued One Must Deploy With It During Their Shift


4.  Officers Shall Only Use the Beanbag Shotgun When Objectively Reasonable


5.  Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject and Fellow Officers Prior to Deploying the Beanbag Shotgun

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that a beanbag shotgun will be used and defer using the beanbag shotgun a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is required if feasible and unless giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others.

6.  Officers Shall Consider the Risk of the Beanbag Shotgun Round Causing Serious Harm When Determining Whether to Deploy


7.  Officers Shall not Target a Subject’s Head, Neck or Genital Area

Officers shall not target the head or neck unless deadly force is justified.

In circumstances where deadly force is not justified, officers should direct the beanbag round toward the following areas:

8.  Authorized Use, Prohibitions, and Cautions

•    Beanbag rounds may only be used on an individual engaged in active aggression, or to prevent imminent physical harm to the officer or another person.


•    Beanbag rounds should not be shot through glass or a chain link fence due to the likelihood of rupturing the beanbags and having the contents injure others.


•    All less lethal shotguns must be stored in the trunk or rear storage area of patrol vehicles.


•    Officers are cautioned that the target area for a beanbag round substantially differs from a deadly force target area. Instead of aiming for the center mass of the body, beanbag shotguns are aimed at the lower abdomen, thighs or forearms.


•    Officers should be aware that targeting the chest has on occasion proven lethal when beanbag round is fired at a close range of less than 21-30 feet.


•    Officers are further cautioned that the accuracy of the rounds decreases significantly after approximately 45 feet and their flight becomes erratic, striking objects to the right, left, or below the target, increasing the risk to innocent bystanders.

9.  Tactical Considerations

•    The optimal distance for a beanbag is between 21-45 feet. The beanbag rounds present a risk of death or serious physical injury when fired at the chest, head, neck, and groin.


•    Officers should also be prepared to employ other means to control the individual — including, if necessary, other force options consistent with Department policy—if the individual does not respond sufficiently to the beanbag and cannot otherwise be subdued.

10.  Officers Are Prohibited From Using Beanbag Rounds on an Individual in a Crowd Without the Approval of a Supervisor

Officers are prohibited from using beanbag rounds against an individual in a crowd unless the officer has the approval of a supervisor and can:

  • Target a specific individual who poses an immediate threat of causing imminent physical harm; and
  • Reasonably assure that other individuals in the crowd who pose no threat of violence will not be struck by the weapon.

11.  Officers Must Justify Each Separate Beanbag Shotgun Use in Their Use-of-Force Statement


12.  Officers are Required to Report Each Use of the Beanbag Shotgun, (e.g. Each Time the Beanbag Shotgun is Aimed at a Subject and Each Round Fired) Regardless of Whether a Subject is Struck.

See 8.300-POL-1.5.


13.  All Shotguns Firing Beanbag Rounds Must be Painted in a Bright Color or Otherwise Marked Clearly so as to Make Them Instantly Distinguishable From a Shotgun Firing Live Rounds


14.  Officers Shall Summon Medical Aid for all Subjects Who Have Been Struck by a Beanbag Round


15.  Beanbag Shotguns Inspections Will Be Conducted on a Semiannual Basis to Ensure That all Are Operable and Perform any Necessary Maintenance or Repairs


8.200–POL–2  Canine Deployment

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


The prompt and proper utilization of a trained canine team has proven to be a valuable resource in law enforcement. When properly used with strict handler control, a canine team increases the degree of safety to persons within a contained search area, enhances individual officer safety, increases the likelihood of suspect apprehension, and may reduce the amount of time necessary to conduct a search.  At the same time, handlers must make all reasonable efforts to avoid unnecessary and unnecessarily injurious bites.


1.  Canine Unit Has Operational Control

Canine Unit will maintain a unit manual.

2.  Canine Unit Will Train and Certify its Officers Annually, at a Minimum

No handler is permitted to train the police dog in methods, techniques, or activities contrary to the accepted methods used by the Canine Unit.

Strict handler control is the overriding goal of canine training such that a handler must be able to cause the dog to follow the handler's orders

  • When the dog is on leash and off leash;
  • When the dog is ordered to release a bite;
  • When the dog is ordered to bite; and
  • To stay and guard without biting.

3.  Canine Handlers Must Have the Ability to Control and Will Be Tested Quarterly in Real-Life Scenarios on Their Ability to Control:

Handlers who are not capable of demonstrating such control shall not be active in the field until the situation is rectified.

4.  Police Canines Shall be Deployed as a Force Tactic Only When Objectively Reasonable

Canine handlers will only allow their canines to physically engage or bite a suspect if there is a reasonable belief or if it is known that the suspect is armed with a weapon or other instrumentality capable of producing death or significant physical injury or otherwise poses an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the handler or others or is engaged in active aggression or escaping. In the case of a subject who has been located hiding, handlers will not allow their canine to seize and extract the suspect if a lower level of force could reasonably be expected to control the suspect or allow for the apprehension.

Releasing the Bite

5.  Canine Deployment Announcements

If Feasible, Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Suspect Prior to Deploying a Police Canine as a Force Tactic and Wait a Reasonable Time to Allow Subjects to Comply.  The Announcement Shall Advise That Failure to Comply With the Officers’ Commands Will Result in the Release of a Trained Police Canine and They May Be Bitten if They Do Not Comply.


Prior to deploying a canine in any structure or enclosed contained area an amplified announcement shall be made and repeated. This announcement is intended to notify persons within the containment area of the intent to utilize a canine team and to afford suspects the opportunity to surrender to the police.  The announcement shall say that there are police officers on the premises and that a trained police canine will be released and may bite you if you do not surrender. Additionally:

A decision not to make a deployment announcement shall be made by a lieutenant or higher. The circumstances under which an announcement may be dispensed with are:

6.  Officers Must Justify Police Canine Deployment as a Force Tactic if it Results in Reportable Force

No handler shall use their police dog solely to intimidate, coerce, or frighten any person.

7.  Canine Deployments

a.     Off-Leash Canine Deployments, Searches, and Other Instances Presenting a Significant Risk of a Canine Bite to a Suspect or Others Shall Be Limited to Searches for Armed Felony or Armed Misdemeanor Suspects, Wanted for a Serious Crime, Particularly One of Violence, Where There is a Clear Danger of Death or Serious Physical Injury to the Officer or Others. In all Other Instances, Searches Must Be On-Leash.

b.        Subject to the Limitations of the Section Above, the Following Locations are Suitable for Off-Leash Canine Deployments:

c.         Authorization for Off-Leash Canine Deployment

8.  Post-Deployment Procedures

Immediately upon securing an individual who has been bitten, an on-scene supervisor shall summon paramedics to examine and treat the individual or transport the person to a hospital for emergency or other care. The individual will not be moved or transported by police officers without medical clearance.

The reporting and investigation requirements are covered in 8.300.


8.200–POL–3  CEW/Conducted Electrical Weapons (TASER)

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


This policy applies to the use of conducted electrical weapons (CEW) by all sworn Department employees.

A CEW in cartridge mode (also known as probe mode) is designed to disrupt a subject's central nervous system with sufficient electrical energy to bring about uncontrolled muscle contractions which override an individual's motor responses. Drive stun mode (also known as touch stun mode) occurs when the CEW makes direct contact with the subject’s body and does not override an individual's motor responses. It is intended to cause significant pain. Use of the CEW in probe or cartridge mode is preferred in some circumstances over use in drive stun mode, which can only be used at close range and may cause burns and scarring.

1.  Education & Training Section (ETS) Manages the CEW Program

ETS will maintain the CEW operator’s manual.

2.  ETS Will Train and Certify Operators Annually

Only officers who have been trained and certified are allowed to use CEW.

3.  Officers Who Have Been Trained and Certified to Carry a CEW and Have Been Issued One Must Carry It During Their Shift

Officers must carry their CEW in a holster on their support side.

4.  Officers Shall Only Deploy CEW When Objectively Reasonable  

Officers may use CEWs to overcome active resistance or aggression that causes an immediate threat of harm to the officer or others.

When a CEW is used against a subject, either in probe or drive stun mode, it shall be for one standard discharge cycle of five seconds and the officer using the CEW must reassess the situation. Only the minimum number of five second cycles necessary to place the subject in custody shall be used.

Officers should assume that if they have used the CEW three times against a subject but the subject continues to actively resist or aggress, the CEW may not be effective against that person; the officer shall reassess and consider other options.

The area of the chest and heart should not be targeted, if at all possible. The CEW may be used to stop a dangerous animal. 

When using CEW in the drive stun mode, officers shall wait a reasonable amount of time between applications to discern if compliance has been gained.

5.  Officers Shall Consider Secondary Risks to the Subject and Third Parties When Determining Whether to Deploy CEW

Secondary risks include the dangers presented by an uncontrolled fall, an elevated position, and the potential to cause a fire. Additional guidance on secondary risks may be found here.

6.  Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject and Fellow Officers Prior to Deploying the CEW

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that a CEW will be used and defer using the CEW a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is required if feasible and unless giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others.

7.  Officers Shall not Target a Subject’s Head, Neck or Genital Area

CEW users will not target a subject’s head, neck, or genital area except to protect officer or public safety. The center mass of the back is the preferred target. The lower center mass of the body should otherwise be targeted. When encountering subjects wearing heavy or loose clothing on the upper body, the legs should be considered as targets.

8.  CEWs Shall Not Be Used In any Environment Where an Officer Knows That a Potentially Flammable, Volatile, or Explosive Material is Present

Officers aware of environmental hazards shall alert fellow officers as soon as possible.

9.  As With the Initial CEW Application, Each Subsequent Application Is a Separate Application of Force That Must Be Individually Justified As Reasonable

         a.     Officers are Required to Report the Use of a CEW, Regardless of Whether a 

                 Subject is Struck.

See 8.300-POL-1.5.

10.  Officers Shall Summon Medical Aid Whenever a Subject Has Sustained a CEW Application


                   a.  Officers Shall Not Remove CEW Barbs That are Embedded in Flesh

CEW barbs shall only be removed by fire department personnel or healthcare professionals.  Officers shall collect CEW barbs and submit them into evidence.

11.  Officers Shall Monitor All Subjects Who Have Sustained a CEW Application While They Are in Police Custody


12.  When Restraining a Subject That Has Been Struck With a CEW, Officers Shall Use a Technique That Does Not Impair Respiration

Once a subject is under control, officers shall place him or her in a recovery position until such time as medical aid arrives.

13.  ETS Shall Conduct CEW Inspections on a Biannual Basis to Ensure That All CEWs are Operable, to Conduct Information Downloads, and Perform Any Necessary Maintenance or Repairs


8.200–POL–4  Firearms

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


1.  Officers Shall Only Shoot Firearms in Situations Where Deadly Force is Justified


2.  Officers Shall Only Carry and Use Department-Approved Firearms, Except in Exigent Circumstances

See Equipment Reference Catalog.

3.  Officers Must Pass an Annual Firearms Qualification

All officers are required to qualify with their on-duty, back- up/off-duty firearms as directed by the Education & Training Section Captain.  See 9.065.     

4.  Officers Shall Not Use Firearms as Impact Weapons


5.  An Officer May Draw or Exhibit a Firearm in the Line of Duty When the Officer has Reasonable Cause to Believe It May Be Necessary for His or Her Own Safety or for the Safety of Others

When an officer determines that the threat is over, the officer shall holster his or her firearm.

Unnecessarily or prematurely drawing or exhibiting a firearm may limit an officer's alternatives in controlling a situation, may create unnecessary anxiety on the part of the public, and may result in an unwarranted or accidental discharge of the firearm.

Officers shall not draw or exhibit a firearm unless the circumstances surrounding the incident create a reasonable belief that it may be necessary to use the firearm in conformance with this policy on the use of firearms.

6.  Officers Shall Not Fire Warning Shots


7.  Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject and Fellow Officers Prior to Shooting a Firearm

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that a firearm will be shot and defer shooting the firearm a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is required if feasible and unless giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others.

8.  Officers Shall Not Fire at or From a Moving Vehicle

Firing at a moving vehicle is generally prohibited because doing so is often ineffective and may cause significant safety risks to the driver, passengers, and bystanders. Firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle.  The moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies an officer’s use of deadly force.

An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle shall, if feasible, move out of its path instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants.

Officers shall not discharge a firearm from a moving vehicle unless a person is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force.

Note: It is understood that the policy in regards to discharging a firearm at or from a moving vehicle may not cover every situation that may arise. In all situations, Department members are expected to act with intelligence and exercise sound judgment, attending to the spirit of this policy. Any deviations from the provisions of this policy shall be examined rigorously on a case-by-case basis. The involved officers must be able to articulate clearly the reasons for the use of deadly force.

Factors that may be considered include:

•    Whether the officer’s life or the lives of others were in immediate peril

•    And if there was no reasonable or apparent mean of escape

9.  Pointing a Firearm at a Person is Reportable Force

Officers shall document all incidents where they point a firearm at a person. See 8.300.2.

Unholstering or displaying a firearm – including in a sul or low-ready position – without pointing it at a person is not reportable force.


8.200–POL–5  Impact Weapons

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


This policy applies to the use of Department-approved and exigent (improvised) impact weapons, by all sworn Department employees. An impact weapon is any object that is used to forcefully strike a subject in a manner that is reasonably likely to cause injury. The baton is capable of delivering powerful blows to interrupt or incapacitate an aggressive subject. It is also capable of delivering lethal or permanently disabling blows.  See Manual Section 8.200.1 for information on approved impact weapons.


1.  Education & Training Section (ETS) Will Train and Certify Officers on Department-Approved Impact Weapons Every Two Years

Officers will be trained and certified to use Department-approved impact weapons before being authorized to carry these weapons.

2.  Officers Shall Only Use Impact Weapons When Objectively Reasonable


3.  Officers Will Not Use Impact Weapons on Subjects Who Are Restrained and Under Control, or Complying With Police Direction


4.  A Hard Strike to the Head With Any Impact Weapon, Including a Baton, Is Prohibited Unless Deadly Force is Justified

The head, throat, neck, spine, groin, or kidneys shall not be targeted unless deadly force is justified. Unintentional or mistaken blows to these areas must be reported to ensure that all reasonable care was taken to avoid them.  Preferred target areas include arms, legs and torso.

5.  Officers Shall Not Use Flashlights as Impact Weapons, Except in Exigent Circumstances

The improvised use of weapons, such as flashlights, may present a greater risk of injury than batons. Use of another object in place of the baton, including flashlights, is prohibited unless there is an immediate need to strike and an officer is precluded from using or cannot feasibly use the CEW, baton, or OC spray.

The failure to carry a baton, in and of itself, does not justify the regular use of a flashlight as an impact weapon. Routine reliance on flashlights as an impact weapon is prohibited.

6.  Officers Must Justify Each Separate Impact Weapon Application in Their Use-of-Force Report

a.    Officers are Required to Report the Use of an Impact Weapon to their Sergeant, Regardless of Whether a Subject is Struck.


See 8.300-POL-1.5.



8.200–POL–6  Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


This policy applies to the use of OC spray by all sworn Department employees.

Oleoresin Capsicum spray (OC spray) is an inflammatory agent that causes an intense burning sensation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.  A one second burst applied directly to the face (direct exposure), even with glasses, will usually result in the immediate closing of the eyes. The individual's eyes will close, tear, and swell as a result. When inhaled (secondary exposure), the respiratory tract will become inflamed and temporarily restrict breathing to short, shallow breaths. The individual may experience choking, gagging, gasping for breath, or, on rare occasion, unconsciousness. The individual may experience nausea, lung pain, or temporarily impaired thought processes. The individual may become disoriented or lose his or her balance.

OC spray may reduce or eliminate the need for substantial physical force to make an arrest or gain custody. It may reduce the potential for injuries to officers and suspects.


1.  Education & Training Section (ETS) Will Train and Certify Officers in the Use of OC Spray Every Two Years

The OC spray policy and training will incorporate the evolving guidance contained within the SPD Post-Basic Law Enforcement Academy course on less-lethal force as well as guidance from the medical community.

2.  Officers Shall Only Use Department-Issued or Approved OC Spray


3.  Officers Will Use OC Spray Only When Such Force is Objectively Reasonable, Including When Used for Crowd Dispersal or Protection

For use of OC spray in the context of demonstration management, see Manual Section 14.090.10.


a.   OC Spray May Be Used Against a Dangerous Animal to Deter an Attack or to Prevent Injury to Persons Present

b.  OC Spray Shall Not Be Used Unless the Use of Physical Force Is Necessary

4.  Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject, Fellow Officers and Other Individuals Present Prior to Using OC Spray

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that OC spray will be used and defer using OC spray a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is required if feasible and unless giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others.

5.  Officers Must Justify Each Separate Application of OC Spray

After the initial application of OC spray, each subsequent spray must also be reasonable and the employee should reevaluate the situation accordingly.

6.  Officers  are  Required  to  Report  the  Use  of  OC  Spray,  Regardless  of  the  Effect,  as  Well  as  the Decontamination Procedures That Followed  

See 8.300-POL-1.5.


7.  The Application of OC Spray on Persons in Restraints Such As Handcuffs Must Be to Protect an Officer or Member of the Public from Physical Injury


8.  Officers Shall Direct OC Spray at the Specific Subject(s) Who are Posing a Threat

Officers deploying OC will attempt to minimize exposure to non- targeted parties.

9.  Officers Shall Assist Exposed Subjects with Decontamination and Water- Flushing of Exposed Areas as Soon as Feasible

If the subject was exposed inside or in a confined space, officers will remove the subject as soon as possible from the contaminated area and expose the individual to fresh air.

Officers shall request medical response or assistance for subjects exposed to chemical spray when they complain of continued effects after having been decontaminated, or they indicate that they have a pre-existing condition (such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, or heart ailment) that may be aggravated by chemical spray.

Officers shall monitor exposed subjects for changes in their condition while in police custody and request medical evaluation as needed.

10.  The Department Shall Maintain Written Documentation of the Number of OC Spray Canisters Annually Distributed to, and Utilized by, Each Employee


8.200–POL–7  Vehicle-Related Force Tactics

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


Authorized vehicle-related force tactics include the PIT (pursuit intervention technique) and stop sticks. In certain circumstances, vehicle-related force tactics may be considered deadly force.


1.  Only Officers Who are Trained and Certified in the Use of These Tactics are Permitted to Use Them


2.  SWAT Will Administer Annual PIT Training and the Education & Training Section Will Administer Annual Stop Stick Training


3.  The Use of Stop Sticks Against a Motorcycle is Considered Deadly Force


4.  Officers Will Use Vehicle-Related Force Tactics Only When Objectively Reasonable


5.  Officers Shall Consider Secondary Risks to the Subject and Third Parties When Determining Whether to Deploy Vehicle-Related Force Tactics

Secondary risks to pedestrians and other vehicles include, but are not limited to, the dangers presented by a spun-out vehicle and loose tires on the road.

6.  Officers Will Report the Use of PIT, and Stop Sticks as a Use-of-Force


7.  See 8.200-POL-4.8 for Guidance on Shooting at or From a Moving Vehicle


8.200–POL–8  Specialty Unit Weaponry

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


1.  The Assistant Chief for Special Operations Oversees all Specialty Unit Weaponry


2.  Specialty Units That Utilize Unique Weaponry Will Maintain Unit Manuals and Training Records Which Contain an Inventory and Specific Guidance for Each Weapon

Per Seattle Police Manual Section 12.070, unit manuals have the force of Department policy.

3.  Officers in Specialty Units Shall Use Their Weaponry in a Manner That is Objectively Reasonable Per the Given Circumstance

The fact that a weapon is part of the specialty unit weaponry does not exempt it from the policy requirements of this Manual. The same principles stated in 8.000 and 8.100 apply fully.


8.200–POL–9  Hobble Restraint

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


1.  Officers May Use the Hobble Restraint to Temporarily Control Violently Combative Subjects

Officers may use the hobble restraint when objectively reasonable.

2.  Officers Must Place Subjects in the Hobble Restraint Either in an Upright, Seated Position or on Their Side and Not Face Down, Including During Transport


3.  Officers Must Closely Monitor Subjects Who Have Been Placed in the Hobble Restraint

Officers shall monitor for signs, such as labored breathing or sweating, of serious medical conditions and provide for immediate medical treatment as necessary.

4.  Officers Shall Report any Use of the Hobble Restraint as a Use-of-Force


8.200–POL–10  Neck and Carotid Restraints

Effective Date:  1/1/2014


1.  Officers May Only Use Neck and Carotid Restraints When Deadly Force is Justified


2.  Officers Must Summon First Aid Immediately Following the Application of Neck and Carotid Restraints, if at all Possible


3.  Officers Shall Monitor All Subjects Who Have Been Subjected to Neck and Carotid Restraints While They Are in Police Custody