Effective Date: 02/19/2014
Eluding - For the purposes of this section, eluding exists when an officer operating an authorized police vehicle initiates a vehicle stop and, after a reasonable time to yield in response to the officer’s command, the driver does any of the following:
- Increases speed
- Takes evasive actions
- Refuses to stop
Pursuit – For the purposes of this section, a pursuit exists when an officer, operating an authorized police vehicle with emergency lights and siren activated, proceeds in an effort to keep pace with and/or immediately apprehend an eluding driver.
2. Pursuing Officers Will Exercise Due Care and Activate Emergency Equipment
Officers engaged in a pursuit shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, and will use both emergency lights and continuous siren.
3. Officers Will Not Pursue Without Justification
The circumstances justifying the decision to pursue an eluding vehicle must be articulable at the time the officer initiates the pursuit.
Officers will not pursue solely for any one of the following:
- Traffic violations / Civil Infractions
- Gross misdemeanors
- Property crimes
- The act of eluding alone
4. Officers Will Cease Pursuit When the Risk of the Pursuit Outweighs the Danger to the Public if the Suspect is not Captured
5. The Department Will Not Discipline Officers, Supervisors, or Commanders for Declining to Initiate or Deciding to Terminate a Pursuit
6. Officers Must Notify Communications of Pursuits
The primary unit shall immediately advise Communications when initiating a pursuit and shall update all relevant details including:
- Reason for pursuit
- Description of suspect vehicle and suspect(s)
- Traffic conditions (Pedestrians and Vehicles)
After joining the pursuit, the secondary unit shall assume the responsibility for all radio transmissions from the primary unit.
7. Communications Will Notify Supervisors of Pursuits
The Communications Section shall immediately notify the primary unit’s supervisor and watch commander of the pursuit.
If the pursuing unit’s supervisor is not available, Communications will notify another supervisor in the precinct.
8. Supervisors Approve Pursuits Leaving the City and Assisting in Pursuits by Other Agencies
Officers must receive authorization from a supervisor to continue a pursuit outside the Seattle city limits.
When an SPD pursuit enters another jurisdiction, Communications shall notify the appropriate agency and request assistance.
Officers will not join outside agency pursuits without supervisor approval.
9. The Controlling Supervisor is Responsible for the Pursuit
The controlling supervisor’s responsibility extends only to the question of whether the pursuit is within policy. In order to make this determination, the controlling supervisor shall immediately establish radio contact with the primary unit and gather all relevant information as soon as possible.
10. Units with Civilian Riders or Passengers Shall Not Participate in a Pursuit, in Any Capacity
11. Marked Cars Take Priority in Pursuits
Police motorcycle units and unmarked police cars with emergency equipment may initiate pursuits. However, marked police cars will assume the primary positions as soon as possible.
12. Only Trained Personnel May Use Pursuit-Ending Tactics
Ramming, roadblocks, and the Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) are prohibited as pursuit tactics.
Exception: Some personnel in specialized units have been trained in specific techniques to terminate a pursuit. Only these personnel so trained may engage these techniques.
Intentional vehicle-to-vehicle contacts such as the PIT and ramming are uses of force that officers must report under the use of force policy.
13. Only Officers Trained in the Use of Tire Deflation Devices such as “Stop Sticks” May Deploy Them
Tire deflation devices are not intended for use on motorcycles. Use of tire deflation devices on a motorcycle will be considered use of deadly force.
Officers may deploy tire deflation devices only after giving the deployment location over the radio to other units. If the primary pursuing officers do not acknowledge, then the tire deflation devices will not be used.
The controlling supervisor reserves the right to override or rescind the decision to deploy.
14. The Deploying Officer is Responsible for Reporting Use
After each deployment the officer shall collect any damaged sections of the device for return to the manufacturer.
Exception: Damaged sections will not go to the manufacturer if they are retained by the evidence section.
The officer will complete a Stop Stick Deployment Report (form 2.26), required for product replacement.
15. The Primary Officer or a Supervisor May Terminate a Pursuit
16. Officers will Disengage When Pursuit is Terminated
When a pursuit is terminated by the primary officer or a supervisor, pursuing officers will do the following:
- With ICV still recording, pull over or, if practical under the circumstances, turn off of the eluding route and return to a normal driving pattern.
- Deactivate all emergency equipment.
- Flag the ICV recording.
17. Officers Will Not Reinitiate Pursuits That Have Been Terminated
Once a pursuit is terminated, no officer will pursue the same car anywhere in the city.
Exception: An officer may reinitiate the pursuit if either of the following apply:
- A new violent crime is observed/reported.
- A supervisor gives authorization to reinitiate the pursuit.
18. Supervisors Will Review Video and Complete a Pursuit Report
The supervisor in charge of a pursuit will complete a Supervisor’s Report of Vehicle Eluding (form 2.28).
The supervisor will forward the report, along with any associated administrative reports, to the Chief of Police through the primary pursuing unit’s chain of command whether or not a suspect is apprehended.
This review shall include details regarding supervisory controls exerted over the pursuit.
The reporting supervisor will review all video from all cars in the pursuit to determine what occurred before and after the pursuit was terminated.
Watch lieutenants and precinct captains will also review all video from all cars in the pursuit before completing their report.
19. Eluding Incidents Ending in a Vehicle Collision Trigger Notifications
A sergeant will respond to the scene of any eluding incident that results in a collision.
The responding sergeant will notify the sergeant of the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad and the chain of command up to the Patrol Operations Bureau Chief.
20. The Patrol Operations Bureau Prepares an Annual Report
The Patrol Operations Bureau Chief will analyze pursuit reports and use that data to prepare an annual report for the Chief of Police.