Effective Date: 11/21/2012
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:
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.
Absent exigent circumstances, officers will not pursue solely for any one of the following:
The act of eluding alone
Most property crimes
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 Criticize or Discipline Officers, Sergeants or Lieutenants 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:
After joining the pursuit, the secondary unit shall assume the responsibility for all radio transmissions from the primary unit.
7. Communications Will Notify Sergeants and Above of Pursuits
The Communications Section shall immediately notify the primary unit’s sergeant and watch lieutenant of the pursuit.
If the pursuing unit’s sergeant is not available, Communications will notify another sergeant in the precinct of assignment.
8. Sergeants and Above Approve Pursuits Leaving the City and Assisting in Pursuits by Other Agencies
Officers must receive authorization from a sergeant or above 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 a sergeant or above approval.
9. The Controlling Sergeant or Above is Responsible for the Pursuit
The controlling sergeant's or above responsibility extends only to the question of whether the pursuit is within policy. In order to make this determination, the controlling sergeant or above shall immediately establish radio contact with the primary unit and gather all relevant information as soon as possible.
10. The Primary Officer or a Sergeant or Above May Terminate a Pursuit
11. Units with Civilian Riders or Passengers Shall Not Participate in a Pursuit, in Any Capacity
12. Only Two Marked Vehicles and One K9 Unit May Actively Pursue Eluding Vehicles
Exception: A sergeant may approve additional units, depending on the circumstances.
13. 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.
14. Only Trained Personnel May Use Pursuit-Ending Tactics
The “PIT” maneuver, ramming, and roadblocks are prohibited as pursuit tactics.
Exception: Some personnel in specialized units have been trained in techniques to terminate a pursuit. Only these personnel so trained may engage these techniques.
The “PIT” and ramming are uses of force that officers must report under that policy.
15. 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 sergeant or above reserves the right to override or rescind the decision to deploy.
16. 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.
17. Sergeant or Above Will Complete a Pursuit Report
The sergeant or above in charge of a pursuit will complete a Supervisor’s Report of Vehicle Pursuit (form 2.28) at the conclusion of every pursuit.
The sergeant 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.
18. The Patrol Operations Bureau Chief Will Analyze Pursuit Reports Annually