Houston Police Departments General Order Revision Subj Motor Vehicle Pursuits 2008
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C i r cu I a r Houston Police Department o ApTil 14. 2008 NO. 08-0414..064 .1 SUBJECT: REVISION OF GENERAL ORDER 600-84 Attacbed General Order 600-04. Motor V~hide Pursuits. has been revised policies. procedures. and standards. to meet current The revisioQS are extensive and some changes are subtle, necessitating a careful reading of the entire General Order. Employees are held accountable for the information cootained within the General Orders. Employees will immediately update their General Orders with this version of 600-04. Chief of Police jek:dr8 COP' 08-28776 This Circular Is to be Read at ALL ROLL CALLS for five !OS) Coasecutive Days --- -------- @@(}lJ@[f@U @~@(f Houston Police Department o Issue DATE: ---~- NO. April 14. 2008 600-04 REFERENCE: Supersedes all prior confliCting Circulars, Directives, and General Order 600-04, dated Sa tember 18, 1995 SUBJECT: MOTOR VEHICLE PURSUITS • POLICY The departmant places the hIghest value upon the fafe and aafety of Its officers end the pUbJic at large. This value must be accommodated within 8 police officer's duty to appre~end peraons who have committed or are committing a violetion of the law. The methods the department establishes to enforce the laws Bre in~ tended to minimize the risk of Injury to office~s and citizens alike. The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle will drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and is responsible tor the consequences of reckless disre gard for the safety af others. This General Order applies to all class; fred and emergency communication per sonnel. 1 AUTHORJZEO PURSUITS The decision to engage in a motor vehicle pursuit is highly dependent upon the abil Ity of an officer, supervisor, or com mander to continuallv assess the need to put8us versus the risk of injury involved in engaging in the pursuit. 2 OFFICERS' RESPONSIBILITIES Officers may initiate or continue a purs\Jit only if all the following requirements are met: a. An officer in good faith reasonably be- lJaves that under the circumstances the need to Immediately apptehend the suspect outweighs a clear risk of harm to the public In initiating or con tinuing the pursuit. b. As required by department policy ann Texas Supreme Court case law, offi DEFINITION Motor VfIh1cItI Punulf. A motor vehicle pursuit (pur9uit) occurs when an officer operating an emergency vehicle attempts 10 stop or apprehend 0 suspect who re fuses to stop while operating ~ motor vee hicle. The suspect must exhibit one of the following types of conduct: a. A willful disregard for personal safety or the safety of others in an attempt to avoid arrest. b. A refusal to obey an officer's repeated signal to stop. cers must constantly evaluate the risk find factors involved when initlating Of continuing , purSUit. Those factors in clude, but are not limited to: • The seriousness of the crime to which the officer responds. • Whether an officer's immediate presence is necessary to appre hend a suspect or to prevent injury or loss of lite. • Alternative courses of action, if any. svailable to achieve a compa rable result. ~~o @~@[f #600-04 ISSUE DATE: c. In addition to the above factors, offi cers will continually evaluate: • Knowledge about the suspect be ing pursued. If enough Information exists to file a warrant, officers wiU be expected to discontinue the pursuit. An exception to this standard is permissible If 8 supervisor or commender responsible for over seeing the pursuit authorizes the pursuit to continue based on the a8sessment of requirements as listed abo"e. • The observable driving behaVior of the suspect being pursued (e.g., is the suspect driving while intoxi cated or is the suspect driving recklessly) • April 14. 2008 PAGE: #2 be clear to a reasonably prudent offi cer. While svaluating aU of the listed fectors, officers will constantly assess the need to immediately apprehend the suspect ver sus the risk ot in;uring themselves, the public, or the suspect. 3 SUPERVISORS' RESPONSIBILmeS ; The designated on-dutY field supervisor: a. Will be in command of the pf.Jrsuit. The field supervisor will immediately and sllccinctly advise the dispatcher jf the purl9uit should continue based upon communication and the assess ment of the circumstances. b. Will monitor all radio communications related to the pursuit and make every • Relative performance capabilitiea· of the vahicle being pursued. • Road conditions. • Weather. • Popufation density. • Vahicular and ~edestri8n traffic. • The presence ot other persons in the police vehicle. d. Officers will continuallv 8SS898 the na ture and severity of harm their actions could cause (including Injuries to by standers as well 8S the possibility an accident would prevent the officer from arriving on the scene or assisting in the apprehension of the suspec1J, the likelihood any harm would occur, and whether any risk of harm would effort to ensure only authorized units participate in 'the pursuit. c. Will continually assess the pursuit and Its changing clreums1a"ces relative to the points stressed by tile TeX8S courts as outlined in section 2 items "b" and "c" above. Also, periodically, as prompted bV the dispatcher, the supervisor will state me pursuit should continue or direct the pursuit be ter minated. d. May terminate the pursuit immediately if it is determined officers have suffi· cient Information to establish both probable cause for the criminal activ ity and the identity of the suspect, making the filing of a to-be warrant feasible. Howe"." this does not apply to 8 case in which the nature of the criminal activity (e.g., deadly weapon involved, serious bodily injUry inflic1ed, ~u @[f@1@:r '600-04 ISSUE DATE: hostage taken, or B flagrant OWl) Ie such that the need to Immediately take the suspect into cus10dy justitia!; the poaslble risks· to the public result ing from the pursuit. e. WlII order any response necessary, appropriate, and within dEtpanmant policy to terminBt8 the pursuit. April 14. 2008 PAGE: #3 continue, then the shift commander will order termination of the pursuit. If the shift commander Is unavailable for any reason, another cn-dutv li~utenant or division commander from the initiating di vision(s) will be designated to fulfill this responsibility. Night Commander f. May become Involved in the pursuit If in close proximi1y and provided the supervisor's polfce vehicle has emer gency equipment. g. Will immediately go to the scene where the chase has ended and take command. sor of any pursuits. If for any reason, a ranking officer from the dMsion(sJ initiat Ing the pursuit is not located, the night commander will assumB all the manage ment responsibilities described above. 5 VEHI~LES EYGIBLE TQ USE IN PURSUITS 4 MANAGEMENT'S RESPONSIBILITIES Shift Camm~ndD" The on-duty shift commenderfs) of the divisionCs) initlating a pursuit wilt be noti fied immediatelv by the on-duty Emer gency Communications Division (EeO) supervisor of a pursuit being initiated by any of their officers. Although the actuel management of the pursuit is the responsibility of fle/d super· visors, the designated shift commander will assen the reasonableness of continu ing the pursuit using the same parameters listed in section 2 items "b- and "e" of this General Order. The shift commander wUI continue to closely monitor pursuits and maintain contact with field supervisors and dls· patchers untIl the event ends. If at any time the shift commander's The night commander will be notified immediately by the on-duty ECO supervi 8S sessment indicates the pursuit should not An officer may initiate or continue a pur suit only If all the following requirements are met. The officer's police vehicle is: • Equipped with working lights end sirens. emergency • Believed to be in sound mechanical condition including. but not limited to brakes, steering, and pollee radio svs terns. transporting prisoners, wit nesses, suspects. comphtinants, or other " onpolice per60nnel wilr not be used to initiate or participate in It pursuit. Vehicles A pursuit initiated by a solo unit ,motor cycle) will be reassigned to the first arriv ing marlced patrol unit. Officers in un· marked police vehicles, who reasonably suspect a criminal offense has occurred and immediate action is warranted, may attempt to follow a fleeing vehicle until 1I @@~a @~@rr '800-04 ISSUE DATE: marked unit with operable emergency equipment arrives to Initiate the pursuit. 6 NOTIFYING DISPATCHER PAGE: #4 Unless the field supervisor approves addi tional units. the primary and secondl!'Y units will be the onty ponce vehicles au thorized to pursue 'the fleeing vehicle. A field superviser may approve additional units if any of the following siUlations ex 01ficers initiating a pursuit will promptlV notify the dispatcher a pursuit situation exists. The dispatcher witt determine if it is necessary to switch the incident to an other dispatch channel (8.g.• channet or to keep the incident on the eXisting ist: channel. b. An authorized unit is unable to con tinue the pursuit or the dl!pateher has been informed an authorized unit is terminating Its invorvemelnt. In this case, the field supervisor will author ize replacement units as needed. 5' If the pursuit remains on tho exlstJng channel, all other officers will immediately refrain from non-emergency radio trans mission, on that channel. The Information transmitted to the dispatcher should in clude the following: • Unit number. • r:>resent location.. • Whare the pursuit began. • Direction of trave'. • Reason for the pursuit, • Description of the fleeing vehicle (e.g., make, model, eetor, license number). • Description and number af occupants in the fleeing vehicle. • Estimated speed af the fleeing vehicle. As neces9ary, the dispatcher will promp1 the supervisor managing the pursuit to con1irm that the pursuit Is authorized to continue. , April 14. 2008 a. There are an insufficient number of of ficers in the authorized units to safe IV eff8(lt an arrest. Canine Uni,!: Upon learning of a pursuit and if iii canine unit hilS not been designated, the closest on-duty canine unit will travel toward the area of the pursuit in anticipation of being needed. WhEt" pr,ct1cal, the canine unit will notify 1he dispatcher of its location and estimated time of arrival. 8 RESTRICTIONS Officers wilt not: 8. Pursue 8 fleeing vehicle by driving ths wrong way on a freewav. When notified of a pursuit. the dispatcher b, Pursue iii fleeing vehicle while operat ing a vehicle without emergency equipment or without the emergency equipment activated. will designate the initial pursuing Yenicle as the primary unit. The dispatcher will c. Drive along the side or in front of a PARTICIPATING UNITS also designata a s8condzuy unit and a field supervisory unit. fleeing vehIcle in an anempt to force the vehlc'e fram the roadway, unless @®~a @~ ISOO.Q4 ISSUE DATE: April 14. ·2008 PAGE: IS authorized 88 on approved s10pplng technique (see section 10, Sropping Technlquest. not limited to trans mining the suspect vehicle', location and approximate d. Ram or bump a fleeing vehicle in an attempt to toree It tram the roadway. c. The helicopter crew will relay the roof numbers of all involved police vehicJes to the dispatcher. e. Continue a pursuit if the prImary unit, on-scene police helicopter, or any on dutY supervisor ardera the pursuit dis continued. f. Discharg e a firearm to disable or stOP a fleeing vehicl. (see General Order 800-17/ Ute of Forae). g. Use a privatelv owned vehicle in any part of a pursuit or a$ B speed, and potential traffic problems. 10 STOPPING TECHNIQUES Befor. any stopping technique is de ployed. officers: • MU5t be adequately trained by Train· ing Division personnel in its proper use. termination technique. h. Usa en occupied or privately vehicle in a roadblock. owned • Will assess the risk of bodily harm to bystanders, any passengers in the suspect's vehicle, themselves. or the suspect 8S a result of using a stopping tBchnique versus the threat to t"e public if the pursuit continues. 9 POLICE, HELICOPTER The following stopping technique& may The dispatcher wlll aS81gn a police heli copter to all pursuits. If no helicopter ie in service, the dispatcher will contact the be used provided th. field supervisor au thorizes the use and the techniques are Helicopter Oivislon and have one dis patched to the scene. ment procedures: used In accordance with current depart 8. Standanl Roadblocks. The following procedures will be adhered to when e police helioopter is involved in 8 pursuit: a. When the helicopter crew has In formed the dispatcher the suspect ve hicle it in view, the ground units will modify thair speed accordingly, but maintain the use of thair emergency equipment. b. The helicopter crew, under the direc tion 01 the field supervisor, will moni tor the pursuit. This includes, but is Barricades or other obstructions set across 8 road way to stop or prevent the escape of a fleeing vehicle. b. Ro1Jing Roadblock$. Moving police units pieced in front of and behind the fleeing vahicre in an attempt to stop it. This method may be used only if the suspect is not speeding but is will fullV failing to stop. Extreme caution is urged prior to IJsing this tactic as jt could expose officers to dang"r if suspects are armed, co --- ~----~--' ~~a ~ '600·04 ISSUE DATE: tentiallv placing officers in situation. B crossfire c. Tire D,,~tJon DflvJt:8&. Devices such At't'i1 14.,2008 -~-- PAGE: #6 The assessment of this informiltion will be In accordance with th& factors and variables listed In section 2 items "b· and "0" of this General Order. as Stingers and Stop-Sticks designed to cause the controlled defhttion of a fleeing \lehlcle's tIres. 12 APPREHENSION OF SUSPECTS DJvtH1Jng TtH:tk:s. On a Once the pursuit has ended. officers will freeway, officers may perform a ser pentine movement desIgned to slow the general flow ()f traffic shead of utilize DPproprlate officar safety tactics regarding high·rlsk vellicle approaches as d. SJow-SpNd the freeing vehicle. Note: Officers will not perform any of the techniques In this section unless they are adequatelv trained by Training Civl.ion personnel in the technique's proper use. , 1 T.ERMINAnON OF PURs..urrs Anv of the following personnel may ter minate a pursuit: outlined in General Order 600-34, High Risk V.hide Approaches. If the j)ursuit is not initiated or is termi nated without apprehending 8 suspect and the identity of the suspect is known. the primary unit will attempt to obtain a to-be warrant through the appropriate dis trict attorney', office prior 1D the end of the officer's $hift. 13 DOCUMENTATION OF A PURSUIT • Officer In the primary unit. • On-dutV officer holding the rank of sergeant or above. • On-scene helicopter observer. Officers will document the pursuit inoi dent in a thorough report containing a de tailed description of the vehicle, suspect information if pouibf., other pertll"lsnt facts, and witness information so an offi The decision to terminate 8 pursuit by an on-duty supervisor other than the field supervisor managing the pursuit must be made with the seme diligence as stated throughout thiS polley. cer or investigator can attempt to locate the suspect and file a warrant at t:I later date. For instance, en on-dutY supervisor, lieu· tenant, or commander from the initiating division(sl or night command captain or lieutenant with access to video coverage of a pursuit will assess available inform a tlon relative to the nature of th. offense and other pertinent varIables before mak ing a decision to allow the pursuit to con tinue or be terminated. If a decisIon is made not to pursue a known suspect or It purauit is terminated in accordance with restrictions set out in this Genera' Order, officers will still com plete a thorough report. The field supervisor assigned to the pur 9ul1 will complete the Houston Police De pertment Vehicle Pursuit form (see HPO's Intranet Portal) at the conclusion of the pursuit. The form will be completely filled @@V\)~n @~ #600-04 ISSUE DATE: out and submitted regardless of the dura tlon of the pursuit. The completed form will bEt immediately faxed to th8 com mend Cent,r and the field supervisor's division will maintain a copy. The original form will be forwarded throuQh the chain of command to the division's assistant chief. 14 INTERJURISOICTIONAL ... PURSUITS Emergency Communications Division, with the approva' of the field superviso,. will notify outside law enforcement agencies when this department is In volved in II pursuit in the outside agency's jurisdiction. The person notify-· ing the outside agency will specify whether the call is a request for Bsais· tance or a courtesy notification with no participation requested. Officers may become involved In agency's pursuit Gl1her inside or HPD's jurisdiction if en HPD field sor authorizes participation and the fallowing are true: another outside supervi any of ~pril 14, 2008 PAGE:.7 15 PUBLIC STATEMENTS FOLLOWING PURSUITS After a pursuit has ended, officer. will re fer aU metdia requests for a statement to the designated field supervisor involved in the pursuit. Upon t~e request of the me dia, the desIgnated field supervisor mav make 8 limited statement to the media or defer to 8 Public Information Officer (PIO) or a higher-ranking en-scene supervisor. .nitial statements wilt be limited to prelimi nary factual if'formation and the stat. menta will bEl in compliance with General Order 800-02. Media Reladonl. If the me dia requests additional information such as comments concerning policy, supervisors will contact the on...cJuty PIO or a higher ranking supervisor, whichever is appropri ate. The PIO or higher-rankinG supervisor will make the scene of the pursuit and af ter receiving a briefing on the pursuit, pro Vide statements to the media. 16 RELATER GENERAL ORDERS 200-08, Conduct and Authority 8. The other agency requests assistance. b. It is clear the other agency's unit is unable to request assistance. c. The emergency nature of the situation dictates the need for assistance, 400·07, Vehicle Use and As.ignMent 400-08, City Vehicle Accidenta 400-10, Unit and Radio Numbering 400-21, MobQe Digital Termlnals 500-01, Effecting AnttIla and Searches 600-03, Genera' Sroade••ta 600-06, Spedal Threat Situation. 60Q..17, Use of force All department pursuit policIes must be followed whenever an employee is in volved in any pursuit. 600·32, Rid..Along Prog,am 600-34, HIgh-Risk Vehtcle Appro8chus aOO-02, Media RelatIons 600.07, Criteria for Submitting Incident Reports -I/:ilA~1t Chtef of Police