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PASCO SHERIFF'S OFFICE GENERAL ORDER

TITLE:

VEHICLE PURSUIT OPERATIONS

GENERAL ORDER: 41.3.1 EFFECTIVE:

JANUARY 7, 2013

SUPERSEDES:

JUNE 9, 2011

ACCREDITATION STANDARDS: CALEA 41.2.1, 41.2.2 CFA 17.07, 17.08, 17.09 PAGES:

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CONTENTS: I. II. III. IV. V.

This order consists of the following numbered sections:

DEPUTIES’ RESPONSIBILITIES COMMUNICATIONS SECTION RESPONSIBILITIES PATROL SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES TRAINING SECTION RESPONSIBILITIES GLOSSARY

PURPOSE: The purpose of this policy is to enhance the safety of the public and agency members by establishing guidelines for deputies to use when operating Sheriff’s Office vehicles during a decision with regard to vehicle pursuit. SCOPE:

This order applies to all members.

DISCUSSION: Vehicle pursuits conducted by law enforcement personnel often present a significant risk of danger to the safety of the general public, the deputies involved, and the occupants of a fleeing vehicle. National studies have determined that most vehicle pursuit operations conducted by law enforcement are usually short in duration and often result in a crash. Therefore, it is imperative that deputies are adequately trained, equipped, and prepared to make reasonable decisions and to utilize police intervention tactics that minimize foreseeable dangers during high risk pursuit situations.

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POLICY: It is the policy of the Sheriff’s Office that all agency vehicles be operated with due regard for the safety of life and property by conducting vehicle pursuit operations in conformance to law and this order. PROCEDURE: I. DEPUTIES’ RESPONSIBILITIES A. Initiation and continuation of emergency response mode: 1. Only a sworn deputy may initiate an emergency response vehicle pursuit. 2. A sworn law enforcement deputy operating an authorized emergency vehicle may initiate a vehicle pursuit when he/she has made a reasonable conclusion that the danger to the public, the deputies involved and the occupants of the fleeing vehicle, that is created by the pursuit, is significantly less than the immediate or potential danger to the public, should the suspect remain at large. 3. When deciding whether or not to continue a pursuit, deputies are expected to make reasonable decisions by taking into consideration all of the known facts and circumstances including but not limited to the following: a. Does the degree of the most serious offense attempted or committed by the suspect prior to the initiation of the pursuit pose an imminent threat to public safety? b. Am I chasing the suspect because he/she is dangerous or is he/she dangerous because I am chasing them? c.

Are backup units readily available?

d.

Is the identity of the suspect(s) known?

e.

Is a juvenile driving or occupying the pursued vehicle?

f.

Is the pursuit operation headed towards a densely populated or congested area?

g.

Are there any adverse road, weather or other environmental conditions?

h. What are the relative performance capabilities of the pursuit vehicle and the vehicle being pursued? i.

Are there non-sworn persons in the pursuit vehicle?

B. Pursuit operations 1. All agency vehicles utilized to pursue a suspect in a fleeing vehicle shall be operated in “Code 3” response mode with all emergency warning lights and sirens continuously activated throughout the duration of the pursuit. 2


2. The primary unit, or secondary unit if available, shall immediately notify Communications of his/her initiation of a pursuit and provide the following information: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h.

Location Direction of travel Vehicle description Estimated speed Number of occupants Offense for which the attempt to stop the suspect’s vehicle is based upon Need for assistance Other relevant facts and circumstances.

3. Vehicle pursuit shall consist of no more than two agency vehicles (a primary and secondary unit) unless circumstances dictate otherwise, or when authorized by a superior. 4. The secondary unit will assist the primary unit with radio communications by relaying pertinent information as the pursuit evolves. 5. The primary unit shall become secondary when another unit has been assigned primary responsibility. 6. Whenever possible, an air unit shall be dispatched and assume primary unit responsibilities by providing aerial surveillance for the purpose of safely monitoring, tracking, and communicating updates. During this tracking mode, authorized ground units shall continue their “Code 3” response, but should reduce their speed and maintain a position out of the suspect’s line-of-sight, when practicable. C. Pursuit/Apprehension tactics 1. Unless otherwise impracticable, deputies shall solicit the assistance and coordinate with other units before attempting to stop a vehicle which is known to be stolen or is believed to be occupied by a felony suspect or a suspect known to resist arrest. 2. When a unit is engaged in an emergency vehicle pursuit operation, deputies MAY: a. Disregard regulations governing the direction or movement of vehicles after weighing the risks of injury to life or property. b. Proceed at a reasonable speed above the posted limit when safety, road, traffic and weather conditions are favorable. c. Utilize an unmarked agency vehicle that is equipped with emergency warning lights and audible siren devices. However, unmarked units shall immediately disengage and relinquish the responsibility of vehicle pursuits to fully marked emergency vehicles as soon as practicable. d. Utilize an agency motorcycle that is equipped with emergency warning lights and audible siren devices only when exigent circumstances exist. However, Motor Units shall immediately disengage and relinquish the responsibility of vehicle pursuits to fully marked emergency vehicles as soon as practicable. 3


e. Utilize a moving roadblock intervention tactic to slow down and stop a fleeing vehicle when conditions are favorable. 3. When a unit is engaged in an emergency vehicle pursuit operation, deputies SHALL: a. Continuously evaluate and assess all factors, make reasonable decisions, and utilize police intervention tactics that minimize foreseeable danger. b. Immediately discontinue the pursuit of a fleeing vehicle when a foreseeable degree of risk of danger to deputies or innocent persons outweighs the need for the immediate apprehension of the suspect. c. Immediately discontinue the pursuit when the identity of the suspect sought is known and apprehension at a later time is more feasible. d. Immediately discontinue the pursuit when directed to do so by a superior. e. Verbally confirm/acknowledge over the radio the receipt of all directives received from a superior. f. Set-up and deploy tire deflation devices and/or utilize moving roadblock tactics as soon as practicable. g. Attempt to protect innocent persons and property by controlling intersections or clearing lanes of traffic that are in the direct path of an advancing pursuit operation, whenever possible. h. Strongly consider discontinuing the pursuit of a fleeing vehicle when radio communication is lost. i. Refrain from using the radio for non-emergency traffic on a dedicated pursuit channel. j. Utilize appropriate officer safety tactics to take suspects into custody once the fleeing vehicle is stopped. k. The deputy who initiated the vehicle pursuit will submit an Original Offense/Incident report titled, “Pursuit�. l. All other deputies involved will complete a supplement report detailing their involvement. 4. When a unit is engaged in an emergency vehicle pursuit operation, deputies SHALL NOT: a. Drive with reckless disregard for the safety of innocent persons. b. Utilize a stationary road block, discharge a firearm at, or intentionally ram a vehicle at high speed unless exigent circumstances exist giving the deputy reason to believe that the immediate use of deadly force is justified, or when expressed authorization is given by a superior. Note: A deputy considering a deadly force option must exercise extreme caution and avoid creating a foreseeable danger to innocent persons and other deputies. c. Deploy tire deflation devices to slow down or stop a fleeing motorcycle. d. Continue to follow in the same direction of a fleeing vehicle once the pursuit operation has been terminated by the pursuing deputy or a superior. e. Stand in the path or insert any part of their body into a vehicle that is, or has the ability to become, mobile. f. Engage in pursuit operations with a vehicle occupied by non-sworn personnel. 4


g. Attempt to pass other units involved in a pursuit operation unless permission is granted from the primary unit or a superior. h. Enter into any lane of traffic controlled by a red stop signal or stop sign before stopping to ensure that all vehicular and pedestrian traffic has yielded to emergency vehicle traffic. i. Enter a controlled intersection against the flow of traffic at a speed greater than is reasonable. j. Pursue fleeing vehicles the wrong way on an interstate highway, controlled access highways, or divided roadways. k. Shadow the pursuit on parallel streets or lanes of traffic unless authorized by a superior or when it is possible to conduct such an operation without creating an unreasonable hazard to other vehicular or pedestrian traffic. l. Engage in pursuit operations initiated by other agencies unless expressed authorization is given by a superior. m. Use information developed or discovered after the pursuit to justify the initiation or continuation of the pursuit operation.

II. COMMUNICATIONS SECTION RESPONSIBILITIES A. When deputies are engaged in a vehicle pursuit operation or another agency pursuit becomes known, the dispatcher SHALL: 1. Tone and restrict the radio group for emergency traffic only. 2. Notify the appropriate patrol supervisor of the pursuit operation. 3. Determine the location, direction of travel, and reason for the pursuit operation. 4. Continuously relay pertinent information to affected members and other jurisdictions when necessary. III. PATROL SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES A. When deputies are engaged in a vehicle pursuit operation, the supervisor SHALL: 1. Monitor incoming information. 2. Coordinate and direct pursuit operation activities. 3. Terminate pursuit operations in a timely manner when appropriate. 4. Respond to the location where the pursued vehicle is finally stopped. 5. Provide commanders with a synopsis of the pursuit operation. 6. Review and approve offense/incident reports submitted by involved deputies. 5


7. Submit a Pursuit Cover Sheet (PSO #2-0164) and a supplement report which details the supervisor’s involvement and a critique of the pursuit operation with regard to existing policy and training. III. DIVISION COMMANDER RESPONSIBILITIES A. Patrol Division Commanders will review all reports of vehicle pursuit operations conducted within their geographic area of responsibility and present their findings and recommendations to the Commander of the Law Enforcement Bureau within five days of occurrence. B. Patrol Division Commanders will periodically reconcile incident records, maintain files, and distribute copies to the Records Section, Training Section, and the Professional Standards Unit. C. Division Commanders will ensure that their respective subordinates receive bi-annual rollcall training regarding the subject of the agency’s vehicle pursuit policy. IV. TRAINING SECTION RESPONSIBILITIES A. The Training Section shall provide deputies initial and periodic update training regarding the subjects of the agency’s pursuit policy, pursuit intervention tactics, and safe driving practices. B. The Training Section shall conduct an annual analysis of all pursuit operations and present their findings and recommendations to the Sheriff and all Bureau Commanders. V. GLOSSARY A. AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE – A fully marked agency owned passenger car or truck that is equipped with operable red and/or blue emergency warning lights, audible siren device, and a police radio. B. CODE 3 RESPONSE MODE – Emergency warning lights and sirens continuously activated. C. IMMINENT THREAT – Facts or situational circumstances that have a significant likelihood of placing a deputy or other persons in immediate danger of serious injury or death. D. INTERVENTION TACTICS – The use of a tire deflation device, moving roadblock (boxing-in), or ramming techniques to stop a fleeing vehicle. E. MOVING ROADBLOCK – The surrounding or boxing-in of a moving vehicle by authorized emergency vehicles which are then gradually slowed down to a stop a fleeing vehicle. F. PRIMARY UNIT – The deputy who initiates a vehicle pursuit or takes over the first position behind a fleeing vehicle during a pursuit operation.

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G. RAMMING – The deliberate act by the driver of a vehicle to forcibly strike another vehicle. H. STATIONARY ROADBLOCK – The positioning of barricades, vehicles, or other obstruction across a roadway or lane of traffic to stop or prevent the escape of a fleeing vehicle. I. SECONDARY UNIT – Any deputy that becomes involved in a vehicle pursuit and is in a position to observe and render immediate backup assistance to the primary unit. J. SERIOUS INJURY – A bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes permanent disfigurement, or the long-term loss or impairment of a body member or organ. K.TIRE DEFLATION DEVICE – A device used to puncture and slowly deflate the tire(s) of a vehicle. L. VEHICLE PURSUIT – An active effort by a law enforcement officer in an emergency vehicle to apprehend the occupant(s) of a moving vehicle that takes overt action to avoid being stopped. INDEXING: ARREST – OTHER JURISDICTION HIGH SPEED PURSUIT INTERVENTION, PURSUIT MOTOR VEHICLE PURSUITS PURSUIT ROADBLOCKS THE DEFLATION DEVICE DRAFTED: LAM / January 7, 2013 / Filed: 41.3.1 Vehicle Pursuit Operations

APPROVED:

____________________________ CHRIS NOCCO, SHERIFF PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA

___________ DATE

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Pasco Sheriff's Office pursuit policy