General Policy Information
Latest Revision Date: 3/3/2014
Title 1 - Department Administration
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: 3/26/2010
A. Primary investigation: The initiation of police action on an incident received as a complaint or one that comes to attention on view. It is the most crucial of investigative tasks because it may determine the success of all subsequent efforts to deal with the problem.
1. Must be as complete and thorough as possible. It must take into account all aspects of the incident regardless of its nature.
a. Officers must ensure that all facts related to the situation are recorded completely and accurately.
B. The scope of the primary investigation may be very restricted or may constitute the entire investigation of the crime.
1. The primary investigator will take all investigative steps necessary to conclude the Department’s involvement.
C. When possible, one officer will be listed as the primary officer and will sign first on all citations, whenever that officer can testify to the violation(s).
1. That same officer will also perform all tests, such as the BAC Verifier, etc., that result from the incident and the investigation thereof.
2. All officers involved in an investiga¬tion are required to cooperate in any subsequent prosecutions or official inquiries where their testimony may be needed.
D. All primary investigations, whether received as a complaint or on-view, require a MIR and disposition be given to the Communications Section to document and track the incident.
E. For any in-custody case (either a misdemeanor or felony), the crime the suspect is being booked for should be included in the narrative of the G.O. If the suspect is being booked for a felony crime, use the terminology, “Investigation of__________”.
F. On the MRE-General Offense screen, the primary offense of an incident will be entered as a Felony or Misdemeanor by entering “F” or “M” in the appropriate field. If the primary offense is non-criminal, such as a mental incident or a landlord tenant dispute, the field will be left blank.
II. Officer Responsibilities
A. Misdemeanor Cases
1. Officers shall conduct and complete a thorough investigation, so that, when possible, follow-up is unnecessary.
a. Most misdemeanor cases are filed directly with the Seattle Municipal Court, with no detective follow-up.
a. Statements from victims are mandatory in the following incidents:
(1) Domestic violence.
(2) Juvenile misdemeanor arrest investigations require written statements from all participants. Statements are also required if an arrest is anticipated, so the case can be more rapidly prepared for prosecution. Refer to Seattle Police Manual Section 6.290 - Juvenile Investigations & Arrests for complete text and further details.
Note: If the victim is unable to give a statement due to a medical condition, officers should attempt to take the statement at a later time.
b. When practical, take statements from victims, witnesses or suspects in other incidents.
a. Place evidence into the Evidence Unit prior to the end of shift.
b. When possible, photograph all evidence retained by its owner.
c. Document all evidence and its disposition in the General Offense Report, Supplemental Report, or in the "Officer's Report" of the Criminal Citation.
d. If video footage (not police generated) is obtained showing the suspect or the incident, view the footage if possible and indicate the quality of the footage in the G.O. report.
e. A thorough search for evidence and latent fingerprints should be completed and the officer’s efforts should be documented in the narrative of the G.O. report. The narrative should also note if evidence or fingerprints were located.
4. Complete necessary reports.
a. Officers are required to obtain a General Offense Number (GON) and submit a General Offense Report, or other report, when applicable.
(1) If a GON already exists, and there are no "new charges", use the existing number.
(2) Include the SMC violation code (12A.XX.XXX) and the title of the crime arrested for in the G.O. narrative.
(3) For non-custody incidents, include in the G.O. narrative whether the victim wants to pursue prosecution.
b. All reports must have complete addresses for suspects, complainants, witnesses, and victims. Document the last known address. The City Attorney requires this information for charging the suspect.
(1) Include the permanent residence address (street address, apartment/room number, city, state, and zip code).
(a) Military personnel must be identified by unit number and the name of the ship, station, or military installation.
(2) If the person is temporarily staying in Seattle, list the temporary address in the narrative.
(3) If the person provides more than one address, list the additional addresses in the narrative.
(4) If no address is available, leave the address field blank. Indicate that the person is a transient or has no address in the narrative.
c. Include accurate home, work, and cellular telephone numbers, including area codes. Include any additional telephone numbers in the narrative.
d. If follow-up investigation by an officer leads to sufficient information to identify and charge a suspect in a criminal offense where a General Offense Report has already been completed, complete a Supplemental Report and request charges in the narrative.
e. When booking a suspect into King County Jail, complete the entire Superform, including the Statement of Probable Cause.
B. Felony Cases
1. Serious Incident Response
2. Other Felonies
(1) In minor felony cases, the primary officer will conduct as thorough an investigation as is practicable.
(2) If the primary investigation will require an unusual amount of time out of service or will extend beyond the precinct boundaries, the officer(s) involved will confer with their sergeant.
(3) Except in unusual circumstances, an investigation will not extend beyond a normal shift.
(1) Statements from witnesses and victims are required in the following cases:
(a) Domestic violence.
(b) Juvenile felony arrest investigations require written statements from all participants. Statements are also required if an arrest is anticipated, so the case can be more rapidly prepared for prosecution. Refer to Seattle Police Manual Section 6.290 - Juvenile Investigations & Arrests for complete text and further details.
(c) Out of state victims or witnesses.
(d) Victims or witnesses without a permanent address.
(2) In all other investigations, statements from involved persons should be taken when it is practical to do so, or if a prosecution is likely.
(a) Victims, witnesses and suspects should be asked for their social security number and whenever provided it must be included in the statement.
(3) Include suspect statements when taken, including any admissions, denials, alibis, or explanations.
(1) It is the primary officer's responsibility to process their crime scene(s), collect available evidence, and enter it into the Evidence Unit prior to the end of shift.
(a) Only evidence that is impractical to collect or enter into Evidence Unit should be retained by the owner.
(b) Officers should collect the items having the greatest evidentiary value (“Best Evidence”).
(c) Photograph all evidence retained by the owner and place the photographs into Evidence Unit.
(2) The “chain of custody” should be documented in the General Offense Report and Officer Statement.
(3) A thorough search for evidence and latent fingerprints should be completed and the officer’s efforts should be documented in the narrative of the G.O. report. The narrative should also note if evidence or fingerprints were located.
(1) Do not book suspects into the King County Jail for both felony and misdemeanor charges.
(1) When booking into King County Jail, complete the Superform.
(a) When completing the offense block of the Superform, write “Investigation of [offense]” for the felony offense(s)and complete the Certification of Probable Cause.
(b) Request additional charge(s) for misdemeanor(s) in the narrative of the General Offense Report.
(2) Complete a General Offense Report or Supplemental Report.
(3) Document the last known address of the suspect.
(4) Complete an Officer’s Statement for each felony case in which you make an arrest, or as necessary to document important details.
(a) Document officer’s actions and observations.
(b) Route the original Officer’s Statement to the Data Center with the Incident Report and any other appropriate paperwork.
III. Patrol Sergeant
A. On-Scene Supervision
1. Screen felony incidents and ensure that Department procedures are followed.
2. Approve and request Follow-up Unit call outs.
1. Screen all reports for completeness and accuracy.
2. Ensure that reports regarding significant incidents are routed appropriately and that necessary command supervisor notifications are made.
1. Screening Sergeants should ensure that investigating officers completed a search for evidence and latent prints and processed recovered evidence properly. The officer’s efforts should be documented in the G.O.
IV. Canvass Card (form 16.9)
A. Canvass Card (form 16.9) has been created for use by patrol officers and sergeants at major incident scenes. The purpose of the card is to obtain witness information and a brief summary of what a witness saw, or may have seen of an incident or crime. The contact information portion of the card is most critical.
B. The card is to be handed to, or forwarded to, the investigation unit or detective that is handling the incident or crime. This would include; officer involved shootings, murders, serious assaults and other serious incidents. The cards have proven very useful in several other major police municipalities in obtaining information from persons at or near a scene, whom for one reason or another could not or would not stay to be interviewed by responding detectives.