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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

15.220 – Child Welfare

Effective Date: 11/21/2007


The State Legislature believes parents should have the right to exercise control over their children unless the child is the victim of abuse or neglect.

Police personnel are often the first responders to cases involving children and youth who have been neglected, are in need of adult supervision, or simply need someone to talk to. SPD personnel serve as role models to these kids and often make time to stop by and visit with them. The Department also has a number of programs that operate independently or in conjunction with other service providers to assist youth. Many of our personnel volunteer through their churches, athletic leagues, or other recognized youth programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Scouting, etc. It is evident that the Department and its personnel are committed to this effort. It is well recognized that dealing with a youth who is troubled or in need of services not only takes a great deal of time but also a degree of expertise and professional training in order to be effective. The Department recognizes and encourages its personnel to offer encouragement and assistance to those children in need and to utilize the services and expertise of specialized units within SPD and others such as DSHS. The Department also commends those officers and support staff who volunteer their time in recognized programs. However, the Department cautions personnel not to exceed their capabilities or authority in handling youth.


The Seattle Police Department will work with the Department of Social and Health Services/Child Protective Services and all other related organizations in combating, reporting and investigating Child Abuse, Missing Children, Runaway Children and Children in Dangerous Circumstances.

Keeping in mind the philosophical statement made in this manual section, personnel are generally prohibited from providing any level of service or assistance to youth that is outside of the scope of Department policy or State Law. If a Department employee sees an avenue to assist a youth that is not covered by Department policy or covered by statute, they will screen the incident with their sergeant who will in turn screen the incident with an on duty Lieutenant. If a decision is made to provide a service or assistance outside the scope of Department policy or State Law, the incident will be screened with Child Protective Services. If CPS authorizes the proposed action, the incident will be fully documented.

I. Definitions

A. "Child," "juvenile," and "youth": means any unemancipated individual who is under the chronological age of eighteen years.

B. "Abused or neglected child": The injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, negligent treatment, or maltreatment of a child by any person under circumstances that indicate that the child's health, welfare, and safety is harmed.

C. Extended family member: An adult who is a grandparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, or first cousin with whom the child has a relationship and is comfortable and who is willing and available to care for the child.

D. Parent: The person or persons who have the legal right to custody of the child. “Parent” includes custodians, guardians, or birth parents.

E. Child in a Dangerous Circumstance: This is the subjective opinion of the officer, based on the child’s physical condition, environment, time of day and situation where the child is encountered.

II. Agencies Involved in Child Welfare

A. Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)/Child Protective Services (CPS): DSHS was created to unite related statewide social and health service programs within a single agency. DSHS programs are designed to protect the general public, as well as persons who are unable to fully care for themselves or meet their own basic needs. The purpose of CPS is to protect children from child abuse and neglect. DSHS/CPS will be contacted whenever an officer has a child in custody resulting from a report of Abuse/Neglect, a Runaway or Child in a Dangerous Circumstance. DSHS/CPS will screen all placements of a child under these circumstances.

B. Crisis Residential Center (CRC): A Crisis Residential Center is a secure or semi-secure facility established pursuant to RCW 74.13.032. A CRC will take a child using this criteria:

1. The child is 12-17 years old.

2. The child is a reported runaway, is found in dangerous circumstances, or is in violation of a local curfew.

3. The child must not have any outstanding warrants or be in need of immediate medical or psychiatric attention.

C. Approved Youth Shelter: An Approved Youth Shelter means a facility under contract to DSHS, providing room and board in a supervised living arrangement, normally in a group or dormitory setting, to eligible recipients. Verify a shelter’s status with DSHS prior to placing the child.

III. General

A. When the Seattle Police Department receives a report of child abuse or neglect, state law (RCW 26.44.030) mandates the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is notified within 24 hours in emergency cases (i.e., where the child is endangered). In all other cases, DSHS must be notified within 72 hours. DSHS is required to notify law enforcement in the same manner when they receive the initial complaint.

B. Whenever officers investigate the serious injury of a child involving questionable circumstances, they will contact the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit.

C. Members of the community who want to report Child Abuse or neglect may contact either law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

D. Officers will complete a Missing Person Report (form 5.1.2) whenever there is a complaint from a parent that their child has left home under circumstances where the parent believes the child has run away, or when receiving a report from a supervising agency that a child has run away from placement.

IV. Investigating Child Abuse

A. Child Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation is described in RCW 26.44.020.

B. Officers responding to reports of child abuse should follow procedures for Primary Investigations. The officers’ first concern should be the immediate health and well being of the child. The officer will call for a medic unit or arrange for transportation of the child to a hospital if immediate medical attention is required.

C. In all investigations of Child Abuse, the officer will notify their sergeant. The sergeant will screen the incident and notify the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit. The Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit will determine if they will respond to the location and may advise the sergeant on how to investigate the incident if they do not respond.

D. Document all incidents of Child Abuse on a General Offense Report.

V. Protective Custody of Abused or Neglected Children

A. RCW 26.44.050 states that a law enforcement officer may take a child into custody without a court order if there is probable cause to believe that the child is abused or neglected. The law enforcement officer is authorized to photograph the child for providing documentary evidence of the physical condition of the child.

B. When an officer takes a child into protective custody, they will screen the incident with their sergeant.

C. DSHS/Child Protective Services has no statutory authority to retain, return, shelter, or otherwise act on behalf of a child who has not been placed into CPS custody. CPS may ask law enforcement to take a child into custody without a court order if they believe that a child is at risk for further abuse or that the child’s caretaker may hide or flee with the child to avoid investigation of Child Abuse.

D. RCW 26.44.110 requires that officers taking children into custody without a court order must leave a written statement with the caretaker or in the residence from which the child was taken into custody if no caretaker is available. Officers will complete a Custody Without Court Order (form 9.45) and leave it at the residence or with the caretaker.

E. If the child is not admitted into the hospital, the police officer will arrange placement of the child with CPS. Child Protective Services must approve all field placements of children taken into protective custody for abuse or neglect.

F. Officers must adhere to the following procedures when taking a child into protective custody:

1. Determine if there is a person capable and willing to take care of the child. This person could be a friend or a relative of the child.

2. Call the CPS centralized intake office at 1-800-609-8764 and then press ‘9’ for day time intake and 1-800-562-5624 and press ‘9’ for after hours intake. This will alert the Central Intake social workers that law enforcement is waiting on the telephone line. Explain the circumstances to the Central Intake social worker and provide the following information.

a. If a person is available to care for the child, CPS will need all of this person’s information. CPS will complete a records check and determine if the child can be placed with the person. Document all contact with CPS in the General Offense Report including the name of the person who received the intake information.

b. If there is no one to place the child with, the Central Intake social worker will research available placement. If CPS is unable to place the child within 30 minutes, a CPS Field Response worker will respond to the officer’s location to assume custody of the child. Document this information in the General Offense Report, including the name of the person who responds to take custody of the child.

c. If it is immediately apparent that the police cannot adequately care for the child, or equipment is unavailable to safely transport the child, inform the Central Intake worker and a Field Response worker will respond to the location.

VI. Runaway Children and Children in Dangerous Circumstances

A. RCW 13.32A.050 and RCW 13.32A.060 covers law enforcement’s authority and the procedures for taking Runaway and Children in Dangerous Circumstances into custody. You must take children into custody under the following four circumstances:

1. Runaways from home. The child is a reported runaway or a law enforcement agency has been notified by the parent of the child that the child is absent from parental custody without consent.

2. Children in dangerous circumstances. You reasonably believe that a child is in circumstances which constitute a danger to the child’s safety.

3. Runaways from a supervising agency. An agency legally charged with the supervision of a child has notified a law enforcement agency that the child has run away from placement.

4. A law enforcement agency has been notified by a juvenile court that probable cause exists to believe that the child has violated a court placement order or a court order has been issued that directs the police to take the child into custody. If you take custody of a child based on probable cause that the child has violated a court placement or based on a court order to take the child into custody, take the child to the King County Youth Services Center (YSC).

B. Tell the child why you are taking them into custody.

C. Screen the incident with a sergeant.

D. Only the minimum amount of force necessary to ensure the care and control of the child shall be used. Arbitrary use of handcuffs or other physical restraints is not permitted.

E. In the case of Runaways and Children in Dangerous Circumstances, an officer is immune from liability if, acting in good faith, they:

1. Fail to take a child into custody.

2. Take a child into custody.

3. Take a child to DSHS, CRC, or a location approved by DSHS.

4. Release a child to a person at the request of a parent.

VII. Custody Disposition of a Runaway Child or a Child in a Dangerous Circumstance.

A. When an officer takes a Runaway or a Child in a Dangerous Circumstance into custody they will attempt to contact the child’s parent. If the parent wishes to take custody of the child, transport the child to the parent. The parent may also choose to have you take the child to an adult extended family member, responsible adult, or a licensed youth shelter. If you release the child to a parent or other acceptable person, give the child and the person taking custody of the child a Runaway Brochure, (available at each precinct).

B. An officer can take a Runaway or Child in a Dangerous Circumstance to a Crisis Residential Center or to DSHS if the child does not meet the CRC criteria, in the following circumstances:

1. The parent of the child cannot be contacted.

2. The parent of the child has been contacted but declines to take custody of the child and declines to direct you to an acceptable person or youth shelter. In this situation, complete a General Offense Report with “Child-Abandon” listed in the Offenses block. Link the General Offense Report to previous runaway reports and list the General Offense Numbers in the narrative.

3. The parents have been contacted but it is not practical to transport the child to their location and there is no other acceptable person or youth shelter.

4. If the child expresses fear or distress at the prospect of being returned to their home or the officer believes that that child will be endangered by being returned home. If the officer suspects or the child reports either child abuse or neglect, follow the procedures for investigating Child Abuse.

C. Harboring a Minor

1. If you have a reasonable suspicion a child is being harbored, remove the child from the custody of the person harboring the child and take appropriate enforcement action (RCW 13.32A.080 Unlawful Harboring a Minor is a gross misdemeanor).

D. If a child is a reported runaway from a Supervising Agency, take the child into custody, contact the parents and return the child to a CRC or to DSHS.

E. Do not keep a child in custody beyond the amount of time reasonably necessary to investigate the incident, transport the child to a destination authorized by law, and place the child at that destination.

F. If you take a Runaway or child in a dangerous circumstance into custody, complete a General Offense Report. At CRC/DSHS you will fill out a transfer of custody form. Get a copy of this form from the agency and forward it to Data Center.

1. A Supplemental Report may be used if there is already a General Offense Report on file.

2. See subsection IX of this manual section for offenses and MIRs.

VIII. Transporting Children

A. Children should be transported in the appropriate restraint device depending on their age and weight as described in SMC 11.58.195. If an officer does not have access to the proper child safety restraint, they should call CPS for assistance.

IX. Offenses and MIRs

Type of Incident Offense MIR

Child Abuse/Child Neglect “Child-Abused” 150

Runaway From Home or a Supervising Agency “Runaway” 364

Children in Dangerous Circumstances “Child-Endangerment” 151

Probable Cause “Runaway” 364

Court Order or Warrant “Warrarr” 192

Harboring a Minor “Child-Harbor Minor” 152

Parent Refusing to Take Custody “Child-Abandon” 150