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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

12.010 - Communications

Effective Date: 12/17/2007


The process of receiving, screening, and prioritizing calls for police service, dispatching units, and resolving the incident should be one smooth-flowing operation. Even though different phases of the process are controlled by personnel assigned to different functions, the success and speed of the operation remain the primary goals. This involves the delegation of responsibility, authority, and accountability, within specified limits, to different operational units.

Decisions must be made in matters of deployment of field strength and resources. For these decisions to be made with continuity and rapidity, they must be placed with the individuals having the most accurate information available to them. The Department expects full reciprocal cooperation between the Communications Dispatchers and all units, regardless of rank.

I. Method of Assignment

A. Watch Lieutenants determine which and how many personnel will be assigned to general field duty. This staffing and resource pool is subsequently turned over to the Communications Dispatchers to deploy during the shift.

B. Call by call distribution of field units is the responsibility of the Communications Section, with the authority granted it by the Watch Lieutenant. The responsibility and authority for taking the proper actions in any situation lies with the individual field units and supervisors. All units with these delegated authorities and responsibilities are ultimately accountable to the Watch Lieutenant and, in turn, the Chief of Police.

C. The Watch Lieutenant may, during the shift, change the strength of the staffing for special purposes by coordination with the Communications Section.

D. In all matters of deployment of field units, the Communications Dispatcher speaks as the voice of, and with the authority of, the Chief of Police, as delegated through the Watch Lieutenant.

II. Responsibilities

A. The authority and responsibility for the over-all management of resources on an immediate basis rests with the dispatcher.

B. Should the Watch Lieutenant choose to override the dispatcher's judgment as to the allocation of available resources, they assume responsibility for the proper response to all incidents within the affected area from that moment, until the control of available resources reverts to the dispatcher.

C. The selection of methods and tactics used to resolve any single incident remains with individual field officers and supervisors.

III. Radio Procedures

A. Portable radios are assigned to specific units, sections, or positions. If a portable radio is required in an assignment, one will be provided to the employee by that unit or section. Employees must return their portable radios when they are reassigned or promoted.

B. Unit radio numbers are assigned to each unit according to its function in the Department, for purposes of mobile communications. The Communications Captain maintains the list of radio assignment numbers.

C. When communicating by radio, field units shall first give their assigned unit radio number as identification. Communications between field units and Radio shall be conducted in a business-like manner, using proper language and correct procedures.

D. Field units shall keep the Communications Dispatcher advised of their “in” and “out of service” status during the entire time the mobile unit is assigned to field duty.

E. Officers comprising field units who receive a call from the Communications Dispatcher shall respond by giving their radio assignment number and their current location. If the call is received via Video Mobile Data Terminal (VMDT), officers may indicate that they are enroute viaVMDT.

F. Assignments from the dispatcher shall be acknowledged without further comment unless additional information is needed.

G. Field units responding to a dispatched call will advise the Communications Dispatcher of their arrival at the assigned location.

H. Whenever a field unit goes “out of service” for any reason except in response to a radio dispatched assignment, that unit shall notify the dispatcher by radio or VMDT that they intend to go “out of service,” give the location, and briefly state the nature of the activity. The VMDT may be used to log oneself to on-view incidents and traffic stops. All coffee breaks and lunch breaks must be approved by the dispatcher.

I. Officers shall not argue with the Communications Dispatchers.

J. Violations of radio procedures or other causes for complaint, from either the dispatchers or field units, will be reported to the complainant’s Lieutenant and processed through the proper channels.

K. Lieutenants are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all complaints and violations noted are fully processed.

L. All employees of the Department are reminded of the limits of authority and responsibility within which they are assigned and that any unjustified attempts to breach them may result in discipline.

M. The Communications Section, in cooperation with the King County 800Mhz Regional Communications Board, has authority over the utilization of all Seattle Police Department 800 MHz talk groups.

IV. Special Event Authorization

A. Personnel shall follow the below procedures when planning special events.

1. Contact the Communications Section at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled event to coordinate use of talk-group assignments. Planners must clearly indicate whether or not the talk-group is to be staffed. If a non-staffed talk-group is used, the supervisor must ensure that all officers working the event understand that the talk-group is not monitored and that they must switch to a regular, monitored talk-group in order to contact police radio.

2. A complete copy of the Operations Orders, including assignments and anticipated sequence of events must be forwarded to the Communications Section Captain at least 72 hours prior to the date of the event. This is particularly important when a monitored talk-group is requested since it generally necessitates overtime hiring.

3. Names, serial numbers and unit call signs must accompany the Operations Orders to facilitate timely logging of units into CAD.

4. If post numbers are used, they must not be duplicated. Duplication creates confusion not only for dispatchers, but also for officers who may need to respond to emergency or help situations.

V. PSOPS-N1 Radio Channel

A. PSOPS-N1 (equivalent to the MARS frequency), is the primary channel for handling Priority Alarms. PSOPS-N1 should not be used for other types of multi-agency response incidents unless the MARS and the other PSOPS channels are already in use.

VI. ST OPS 5/Zone 1 Operation

A. ST OPS 5 channel on Zone 1 will only be used under the following conditions:

1. Communication with dispatch is lost due to your radio being out of range, and,

2. There is a need to communicate with other officers in the immediate area, and

3. There is a communications car monitoring.

B. The ST OPS 5 channel will not be used:

1. Car to car, or,

2. When normal operations are available.

C. While on the ST OPS 5 channel, officers must remember that all two way communication with the dispatcher is lost and the Emergency Activation Button on the portable radio will not function.

D. Because it is a simplex channel (line of site), it will not be recorded by the Communications Section.

VII. Miscellaneous General Offense Report (MIR) and Disposition Procedures

A. Total MIR and disposition reporting of all primary police actions is required except for routine patrol, on-view traffic citations, and follow-up (secondary) action conducted by follow-up units. Such reporting is required of any officer or employee of the Department who handles a police incident.

B. MIRs and dispositions will generally be initiated and completed by the officer via theirVMDT. Officers in vehicles not equipped with a VMDT will give their MIR and disposition to the dispatcher via radio.

C. All police actions must be reported, and the Communication Section advised as follows, via radio or VMDT as appropriate:

1. The nature of the incident,

2. The location of the incident,

3. Time the complaint was received or the on-view incident occurred,

4. Time logged out of service,

5. Time of arrival at scene,

6. Time returned to service, and

7. Disposition of incident.

VIII. Aggressive Dispatching

A. An expeditious dispatch to high priority calls for service is necessary for the Department to accomplish its mission. This procedure describes how high priority calls for service will be dispatched when insufficient resources are immediately available.

B. The Department’s response time goals are less than 7 minutes to all precedence 0 and 1 calls; less than 15 minutes to all precedence 2 calls and less than 30 minutes to all precedence 3 calls.

1. If a high precedence (0 and 1), or precedence 2 call cannot be immediately dispatched, the call information will be broadcast over the appropriate talk group(s) and the dispatcher will ask if any unit(s) can be clear to respond. This gives all units the opportunity to volunteer and assist in a response, such as Traffic, K-9, CPT, ACT, SWAT, Detectives, Prisoner Vans, etc.

2. For high precedence (0 and 1) calls, if no units immediately volunteer to respond, the dispatcher will determine which units are on low precedence/paper calls and request they respond. The dispatcher will not hesitate to free and assign units who are on downtimes (e.g., 931, 932, out-car), or other non-emergency situations. If the dispatcher receives unreasonable resistance, the Chief Dispatcher and Sector Sergeant should be notified immediately.

a. If the dispatcher is still unable to assign units, a Precinct Supervisor (Sector Sergeant or Watch Lieutenant), will be advised over the air and the dispatcher will continue to search for units to respond.

b. Dispatchers should always consider the option of cross-precinct dispatching. This should be done in conjunction with the Chief Dispatcher who is responsible for notifying the affected Precinct's Supervisors once the call has been assigned.

c. If assignment of the call is still unsuccessful, the dispatcher will update the call to show no units available (NUA). This shall only be noted once all of the above steps have been taken. The dispatcher will continue efforts to assign the call.

3. Precedence 3 and 4 calls of an investigative nature are to be dispatched or pended to the district car when at all possible. If the district car is unavailable the call can be assigned to another car within the sector.

4. Depending upon the type of call (not of an investigative nature), dispatchers can sometimes more effectively handle lower precedence 3 and 4 calls by broadcasting the information when units are not available. This will give Patrol and other units (e.g., CPT, ACT, SWAT or Traffic), who are nearby the location or have recently been through the area a chance to clear the call. Examples of appropriate calls to be handled in this manner would be area checks for mischief, minor hazards, etc.

IX. Radio Calls Signs

A. Patrol Sergeants

1. Watch 1, 2, or 3 followed by the sector letter (e.g., 1N –1st watch sergeant of Nora sector)

B. Patrol District Units

1. Watch 1, 2, or 3 followed by sector letter and beat number (e.g., 3S3 – 3rd watch unit in Sam sector, beat number 3).

2. Additional units assigned to the beat shall be identified by the watch, sector, beat and a number 1 through 9, identifying the # of extra units within the sector (e.g., 3S31 – additional 3rd watch unit in Sam sector, beat number 3).

Note: The use of double beat cars is no longer allowed. For example, 3S23 would identify an additional unit assigned to the S2 beat, not a unit covering both beats S2 and S3.

C. Umbrella Units

1. Units assigned to cover entire sectors or with no designated beat(s) shall be identified by the watch, sector, a zero and a number 1 through 9 (e.g., 3N01, 3N08). Units assigned to extra patrol for the sector will use numbers 01 through 06 and be available for 9-1-1 calls. Unmarked, surveillance or dedicated pro-active units will use numbers 07 through 09 and be available for emergency calls only.

D. Uniformed Walking Beat Units

1. Walking beat officers shall be identified by watch, sector and a two-digit number 51 through 59 (e.g., 3E51, 3E55). Walking beat sergeants shall be designated by the watch, sector and the number 50, (e.g., 3E50).

E. Uniformed Emphasis Units & Sergeant

1. Patrol officers assigned to special emphasis (e.g., gang suppression, target areas), shall be designated by the watch, sector and a two-digit number 61 through 69 or 71 through 79, (2M62, 2M79, etc.). Emphasis unit sergeants shall be designated by the watch, sector and the number 60 or 70, (e.g., 2M70).

D. Uniformed Bicycle Beat Units & Sergeant

1. Bicycle officers shall be identified by watch, sector and a two-digit number 81 through 89 or 91 through 99 (e.g., 2U83, 2U94). Bicycle unit sergeants shall be designated by the watch, sector and the number 80 or 90, (e.g., 2U80).

E. Patrol Wagons

1. A patrol wagon shall be identified by the sector, watch and the number "10" (e.g., 3K10, 2D10).

F. Mobile Precincts

1. The mobile precincts will be designated as MP1, MP2 and MP3. They will not utilize a watch or sector designator.

G. Off Duty or Unassigned Personnel

1. Off-duty personnel using SPD radio will identify themselves by using their employee serial number preceded by the alpha designator “VICTOR” (e.g., V5348). Employees not assigned a radio unit number who have need to use SPD police radio are also required to identify themselves using their employee serial number preceded by the alpha designator “VICTOR”.

H. Special Event Radio Assignment Numbers

1. The Seattle Police Department regularly allocates staffing for special events and provides radio support services for units involved. Special events include large gatherings, V.I.P. security, special command operations and events such as Seafair, Hydroplane Races and other City activities. In order to minimize confusion and attain uniformity and standardization for radio operations and later reporting of special event resources, units are to be assigned using the following alpha designators: A – ADAM; I – IDA and Y – YOUNG, and the numbers 1 through 200. The numbers 1 through 5 may also precede the designator (e.g., Y25, A120, 5A75, 3Y130). Sergeants shall be identified by using the alpha designator preceded by a number 1 through 20 (e.g., 3A, 12Y).