General Policy Information
Latest Revision Date: 11/20/2013
Title 1 - Department Structure and Function
Title 2 - Department Employment
Title 3 - Employee Welfare
Title 4 - Human Resources
Title 5 - Employee Conduct
Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure
Title 7 - Evidence and Property
Title 8 - Use of Force
Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms
Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security
Title 11 - Detainee Management
Title 12 - Department Information Systems
Title 13 - Vehicle Operations
Title 14 - Emergency Operations
Title 15 - Primary Investigation
Title 16 - Patrol Operations
Effective Date: 3/6/2010
I. Patrol Officer Responsibilities
A. Secure the scene and request that a Patrol Sergeant respond.
B. Do not allow any persons to enter the scene.
C. Keep notes regarding the incident. Include the following:
1. Position and description of the body in relation to the surroundings, and
2. Presence or absence of any weapons.
D. Identify all persons found at the scene and detain them until the arrival of a Patrol Sergeant.
E. Do not move or search the body or room for identification purposes or other information.
Exception: A search may be conducted as directed by Homicide/Assault Unit detectives or the Medical Examiner.
F. Complete a General Offense Report, and an Officer Statement (when appropriate).
II. Patrol Sergeant Responsibilities
A. Respond in person to all dead human body calls.
B. Determine if a follow-up unit needs to respond.
C. Assume command of all patrol activities at the scene.
D. Determine the type of death: natural, accidental, suicide, or possible homicide.
1. When a patrol sergeant responds to any death of a person under the age of 18 the sergeant shall consult with a Homicide sergeant. A homicide sergeant can be contacted through Communications.
III. Death Investigation
A. Natural Death
1. Collect all necessary information to substantiate a natural death.
2. Contact the Medical Examiner at 206-731-3232.
a. The Medical Examiner's Office may have the family arrange for a funeral home to take custody of the body, if the primary investigator is satisfied that a natural death occurred, and the Medical Examiner's Office can verify the following:
(1) Medical history of the deceased,
(2) The doctor of the deceased agrees to sign the death certificate, and
(3) Family member(s) are available.
b. If the Medical Examiner does not respond, obtain the assigned "Non-Jurisdiction Assumed" number (NJA).
c. If the Medical Examiner responds to take custody of the body, obtain the "King County Medical Examiner's" (KCME) case number.
3. Stay at the scene until the body is removed by either the Medical Examiner or a funeral home.
4. Complete the General Offense Report.
a. Document facts that substantiate a natural death. Including, but not limited to:
(1) Medical history/medications,
(2) Past activities, and
(3) Complaints of illness.
b. Include the "NJA" or "KCME" number in the report.
B. Accidental or Suicide
1. Obtain all information necessary to substantiate the type of death, accidental or suicide.
a. Note the position, condition, and description of the body.
b. Obtain historical information regarding the deceased.
c. Identify and interview all witnesses.
2. Officers will ensure that two or more photographs of the scene are taken.
3. Contact the Medical Examiner (206-731-3232) and have an investigator respond.
a. Obtain the KCME case number.
4. Stay at the scene until the body is removed by the Medical Examiner.
5. Document facts substantiating accidental death or suicide in the General Offense Report.
a. Include the KCME case number in the report.
6. Complete a sketch of the crime scene and forward it to Data Center..
7. Contact a Homicide Unit sergeant when the suicide victim is a minor under the age of 18. The Homicide Unit will respond in all suicides of minors and will assume investigative responsibilities.
C. Possible Homicide or Unusual Circumstances
1. Contact the Homicide and Assault Unit.
2. Remain at the scene until relieved by the follow-up detectives.
3. Assist the detectives until no longer needed.
4. Prepare a General Offense Report and Officer Statement documenting the information obtained at the scene and the release of the scene to the follow-up unit.
D. Dive Rescue, Drowning and Near Drowning Incidents
1. The Seattle Police Department is responsible for any on scene command of all drowning, near drowning and dive rescue response calls. Both Police and Fire personnel may be involved in these responses.
2. The Duty Captain will be called to and will respond to all incidents involving a dive rescue, drowning and near drowning.