E.P.P. 3 Motor Vehicle Apprehension
I. POLICY STATEMENT:
- The foremost goal of the Longwood Police Department is the protection of life and property; therefore, it is our policy to restrict and regulate those circumstances under which motor vehicle apprehension efforts will be permitted in officers’ execution of law enforcement duties.
- Officers are authorized to pursue suspects who are reasonably thought to be violent or pose a danger to the public at large. Therefore, officers may pursue a suspect if one of the following conditions exist:
3. If the officer reasonably believes the suspect has committed or attempted to commit a forcible felony, as defined in Florida State Statute 776.08.
4. If the officer reasonably believes the fleeing driver poses an immediate threat to the public at large.
5.The dangerous driving of a fleeing driver which takes place after the attempt to stop the vehicle will not, on its own, justify a vehicle pursuit.
6. In instances where immediate apprehension cannot be affected with reasonable safety, an officer shall attempt to obtain sufficient information to affect subsequent apprehension without engaging in a motor vehicle pursuit.
7. Cases where an officer “follows” a subject vehicle, but does not engage in apprehension efforts, do not constitute a pursuit. To “follow” is defined as to drive in close proximity to a subject vehicle without utilizing any apprehension efforts, including but not limited to emergency vehicle equipment, hand signals, etc. While following a subject vehicle, the police vehicle must adhere to all traffic laws. The on duty supervisor has the authority to terminate an officer from continuing to follow a subject vehicle. At no time is an officer allowed to resume following a vehicle once an active pursuit has been terminated by a supervisor.
8. The use of tire-deflating devices (T.D.D.) will be governed by sound professional judgment and the procedures outlined in this policy. Should the adjacent agencies request the use of T.D.D.’s, they are expected to comply with the contents of this policy.
9. Circumstances permitting, back-up or secondary units will normally attempt to establish at least one location where a visible presence of law enforcement officers is apparent to the suspect. This will be done in an effort to make the suspect fully aware of law enforcement command to stop and their attempts to apprehend. Should the suspect fail to stop, or if the pursuing officer and/or supervisor have reason to believe that the continued movement of the fleeing vehicle will place the driver and/or the general public in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death, the back-up units may use the approved T.D.D. The devices will be used for the sole purpose of bringing the suspect vehicle to a stop.
The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and responsibilities for officers and supervisors when engaged in motor vehicle apprehensions. This policy shall serve as a standard for the administrative review of the judgment exercised by any officer and supervisor involved in the pursuit.
- Attempt to stop:
An initial effort made to stop a moving vehicle for the purpose of arresting or citing the driver or passengers for a violation of the law.
- Vehicle pursuit:
An active and continuing effort by an officer in an authorized emergency vehicle to apprehend the occupant(s) of a moving vehicle, provided the driver of such a vehicle is aware or should be aware of the attempts being made to stop him; and, said driver fails to stop after a reasonable time or reasonable distance or increases speed or takes such other evasive action.
- Emergency vehicle (unit):
Any authorized police vehicle equipped with a siren and flashing and/or revolving blue (blue and red) lights which meet the requirements of chapter 33.6, Florida State Statutes.
- Primary pursuit unit:
Generally the emergency unit that initiates the pursuit or any emergency unit that assumes control of the pursuit as the lead vehicle.
- Secondary pursuit unit:
The emergency unit which trails the primary unit at a safe distance, and which is available to assume the primary role, or assist the primary unit, if the fleeing vehicle is stopped.
- Assist units:
Other emergency police vehicles, beyond the primary and secondary pursuit vehicles. They are to remain alert to the direction and progress of the pursuit and may position themselves at the strategic sites along the probable pursuit route or on parallel roadway for response to any emergencies that may develop.
- Tire deflating devices:
A device manufactured solely for the use as a vehicle tire deflation device, which has been pre-approved by the police chief.
- Vehicle apprehension:
The tactics and strategies that are utilized to take a suspect in a stationary or moving motor vehicle into custody that includes, but is not limited to traffic stops, felony stops, vehicle pursuits, utilization of tire deflation devices, and tactical vehicle positioning.
- Termination of a pursuit:
A pursuit shall be deemed terminated when two things occur:
- The pursuit officers deactivate all emergency vehicle equipment, and
2. The pursuit vehicles turn their vehicles in another direction of travel away from where the suspect vehicle was last observed traveling, or pull to the side of the road and stop if on a limited access roadway and inform dispatch of this fact.
- Emergency vehicle equipment:
Emergency vehicle equipment includes emergency blue lights, sirens, hazardous warning lights, spotlights, flashing headlights and public address systems.
- Tactical vehicle positioning:
The placement of one or more Longwood Police Department vehicles, marked or unmarked, in a position to impede the movement of a stationary suspect vehicle.
- Precision immobilization technique:
The Precision Immobilization Technique (P.I.T.) is the intentional act of making contact with a violator’s vehicle to force it from its course of travel and to stop.
IV. PRIMARY PURSUIT UNIT RESPONSIBILITIES:
- The pursuing officer shall immediately notify the telecommunications section that a pursuit is underway and provide the following information.
- Unit identification number;
- Location, speed and direction of travel of fleeing vehicle;
- Description and license plate number, if known, of fleeing vehicle;
- Reasons supporting the decision to pursue including laws violated.
- Individual responsibility for actions of a pursuit rest with the primary unit unless directed otherwise by the shift supervisor.
V. SECONDARY UNIT RESPONSIBILITIES:
- The secondary unit, upon joining the pursuit, shall immediately notify the telecommunications section of its identity. If practical the secondary unit should assume radio communications responsibility for the primary unit.
- The secondary unit should maintain a safe distance from the primary unit, but be close enough to render assistance.
- Should the primary pursuit unit become disabled, the secondary unit will become the primary unit and the shift supervisor will designate a new secondary unit.
VI. SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Overall responsibility for the decisions concerning continuance or termination of a pursuit rests primarily with the appropriate supervisor through the chain of command of the pursuing unit.
The supervisor asserts control of the pursuit by monitoring and directing specific units into or out of the pursuit, re- designating primary, secondary, and back-up units, approving or ordering alternative tactics, or terminating the pursuit if appropriate.
- Upon being notified of the pursuit, the supervisor shall verify the following:
- The reason for the pursuit;
- No more than the necessary number of units is involved in the pursuit;
- Proper radio frequency is being utilized;
- Affected inter-jurisdiction agencies are notified.
VII. OPERATIONAL TACTICS:
- The law enforcement officer initiating the pursuit shall immediately notify the telecommunications center a pursuit is underway, giving the following information:
- There is reason to believe a forcible felony has occurred, or the fleeing vehicle driver poses an immediate threat to the public at large;
- Description of the vehicle, and license number;
- Location and direction of travel;
- Number of suspects (occupants) in the vehicle.
- Other factors to consider upon initiation or the continuation of the pursuit:
Area in which the pursuit is occurring causes a level of danger which outweighs the necessity of the pursuit:
1. Residential areas;
- School zones;
- Road conditions;
- Special events in progress;
- Congested business areas or intersections;
6. Time of day causes a level of danger which outweighs the necessity of the pursuit:
7. Are school children going or coming from school?
8. Is traffic congestion going to be a problem?
Suspect’s vehicle speed and driving style causes a level of danger which outweighs the necessity of the pursuit:
- Extreme high speed;
- Reckless driving habits, failure to stop at stop signs or lights;
- Is suspect ramming other vehicles to escape capture;
4. All emergency vehicle equipment, including sirens will be utilized.
Method of pursuit:
- A caravan of unassigned units is prohibited.
- Units should not follow a suspect vehicle the wrong way on limited access roadway and should use extreme caution if the suspect vehicle proceeds the wrong way on a one-way street.
- Units will not pass one another unless authorized by the primary unit.
- All pursuit units will maintain a reasonable and safe following distance.
- Motorcycle units will not engage in pursuits unless optimum traffic conditions exist. Motorcycle units will discontinue the pursuit when a marked vehicle is present.
- Unmarked vehicles properly equipped with blue lights and sirens are permitted to engage in pursuits, but will be relieved by the first available marked vehicle. Unmarked vehicles will act as secondary units until a second marked vehicle is present, at which time, the unmarked vehicle will discontinue pursuit mode, and continue safely if additional units are required.
- All initiating pursuit vehicles may relinquish primary pursuit position to neighboring city/county law enforcement officers when crossing jurisdictional boundaries.
- All units will terminate a pursuit when radio communication with dispatch or communication with their immediate supervisor is lost.
- The act of ramming a vehicle to apprehend a violator is prohibited.
- Stationary roadblocks are prohibited.
- Officers shall not discharge their firearms at or from a moving vehicle unless the occupants of the other vehicle are using deadly force against the officer or another person.
- Firearms may be used only under circumstances, which provide a high probability of striking the intended objective and without causing harm to innocent persons.
- When aerial surveillance is available, the pilot will notify the telecommunications section as soon as possible. When feasible the aircraft becomes responsible for communicating the progress of the pursuit after communication is established between the air and ground units confirming the transfer of this responsibility. All pursuing units at that time will break away from the pursuit and will leave adequate distance for a suspect vehicle to take an alternative plan.
VIII. TERMINATION OF PURSUIT:
- A decision to terminate the pursuit may be the most rational means of preserving the lives and property of the public, and both the law enforcement officers and suspects engaged in the pursuit. The pursing units have an obligation to discontinue when circumstances dictate a pursuit is not justified or it is not reasonable to do so. A pursuit shall be terminated when:
- In the opinion of the officer or the shift supervisor, the level of danger outweighs the necessity of the pursuit;
- The suspect’s identity has been established to the point that later apprehension can be accomplished and he or she does not pose an immediate danger to the public at large;
- The distance between the officer and the pursued vehicle is so great it becomes obvious that apprehension is unlikely;
- Police equipment failure makes it impractical or unsafe to continue;
- If the pursuing vehicle loses radio contact with its communications center;
- The officer engaged in the pursuit no longer has a reasonable belief the person pursued is suspected of committing, having committed, or attempted to commit a forcible felony.
- Once a vehicle pursuit has been terminated, the shift supervisor shall determine if any involved vehicles will be placed out of service and inspected by fleet maintenance prior to resuming normal service.
IX. INTER-JURISDICTIONAL PURSUITS AND INTRA-JURISDICTIONAL PURSUITS:
A. Out-bound pursuits:
- If a vehicle pursuit appears to be continuing outside the jurisdiction of the originating agency, that agency’s communications center will inform the target agency that a vehicle pursuit is headed in their direction, and request their assistance. Such notification shall include:
- Nature of offense/reason for pursuit;
- Number of suspects in the pursued vehicle;
- Number of units currently involved;
- Vehicle description and direction of travel;
- Any special conditions or considerations.
- The decision to grant such assistance to the originating agency will be that of the on-duty field supervisor of the requested agency.
- If assistance is granted, a unit from the requested affected agency should assume the primary unit position if practical, and the originating agency should continue in a secondary unit position at a safe distance behind the primary unit. The decision to continue or terminate the pursuit should transfer to the new primary unit’s agency. In the event the pursuit is subsequently terminated by the unit from another jurisdiction, the originating agency will not resume the primary position or re-initiate the pursuit outside their primary jurisdiction.
2. If the requesting agency does not grant assistance to the originating agency, the primary unit must reevaluate the need to continue the pursuit based upon existing conditions and knowledge of the geography of the area. If the decision is to continue, the communications center of the primary unit will continue to inform other affected agencies down the line, and request their assistance. Units from the agency having jurisdiction over the area the pursuit has entered will then act to protect the public from the pursuit, without actually involving themselves in the chase.
3. If the agency having jurisdiction over the area the pursuit has entered requests the primary unit to discontinue the pursuit in view public safety concerns, the primary unit may honor that request and terminate the pursuit.
4. Pursuits that appear to be leaving the City of Longwood will only be continued in extreme need situations with the approval of the field supervisor of the agency assuming the primary position. The field supervisor of the adjoining jurisdiction will be notified of the pursuit into his/her jurisdiction.
6. Pursuing officers that continue beyond the limits of Longwood will adhere to the policies established and accepted by the Longwood Police Department.
B. In-bound pursuits:
- Officers shall not become involved in another agency’s pursuit unless clearly and specifically directed to assist by the Longwood Police Department shift supervisor.
- Assistance with or involvement in pursuits originating outside of the City of Longwood that enter Longwood jurisdiction must meet the same criteria established for pursuits that originate in Longwood’s jurisdiction. If the criteria do not agree with the Longwood policy, Longwood police officers shall not involve themselves in the pursuit, and may request the pursuing agency to terminate the chase due to public safety considerations based on existing conditions.
- The decision to grant assistance to the requesting agency shall be that of the on-duty field supervisor.
- A vehicle pursuit report form shall be completed after every pursuit.
- The form shall be submitted by the officer conducting the pursuit and shall be completed by the end of the officer’s tour of duty.
- The form shall be signed by the officer’s supervisor and forwarded through the chain of command to the chief of police.
TIRE DEFLATING DEVICES
A. The following criteria shall be met prior to the use of the T.D.D.:
- There is reasonable suspicion to believe that the suspect has committed an offense justifying an arrest.
- The officer attempting to apprehend a moving suspect vehicle has been given obvious notice of the intention to stop the vehicle and/or detain or arrest an occupant in the vehicle.
- The driver ignores the efforts and warnings, which would be obvious and visible to a reasonable person in the driver’s position.
- During covert operations where it is necessary to deploy a T.D.D. before contacting a suspect(s) no prior notification is necessary. This type of deployment may be utilized when there is reason to believe the suspect will flee when approached by law enforcement.
- The use of T.D.D.’s is not limited to vehicle apprehensions related to vehicle pursuits or covert operations. Officers have the discretion of utilizing T.D.D.’s whenever they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the occupant of a vehicle has committed an arrestable offense and the driver has actively ignored a law enforcement officer’s attempts to stop the vehicle or detain or arrest an occupant of the vehicle.
B. Officers involved in using T.D.D.’s will consider the following before using this equipment:
1. Before using a T.D.D., officers shall have received training and will have shown proficiency in the use of the devices.
2. Most effective location for the placement of tire deflating devices:
- Deployment locations should have reasonable good sight distances to enable the officer deploying the T.D.D. to observe the pursuit and/or suspect vehicle as well as other traffic as it approaches.
- The officer deploying the T.D.D. should choose a location with natural barriers such as overpasses, buildings, patrol vehicles, or other dense objects. These barriers will conceal the officer from the suspect’s view and allow deployment of the device from a safe position.
- Heavy vehicle traffic, road construction, special events and/or active school zones may create situations where the use of tire deflating devices would be inappropriate.
3. Position and vulnerability of the public, private property, other assisting units and equipment.
a. Tire deflating devices should not be used on two wheel vehicles, unless the use of deadly force is justified.
b. Tire deflating devices should not be deployed to stop the following vehicles unless continued movement of the suspect vehicle would result in an increased hazard to others.
- Any vehicle transporting known hazardous materials, unless such vehicle is being used by a terrorist organization/individual as means to carryout terrorist activity.
- Any passenger bus transporting passengers.
- Any school bus transporting students.
4. If it appears than an officer will drive over the tire deflating device before the system is retrieved, the officer must not take radical, evasive action and accept the flat tires. Radical, evasive action can cause catastrophic results, such as rollovers, multiple vehicle collisions or injury to the deploying officer.
5. Any vehicle(s) or other property sustaining damage as a result of the use of the T.D.D. will be reported immediately to the officer’s supervisor. The supervisor will then properly document the damage.
6. If the incident is deemed to be a traffic crash involving serious injuries or death and not legal intervention, the Traffic Division of the Longwood Police Department will be notified and requested to complete the crash investigation.
7. When the T.D.D.’s are utilized and contact is made with a vehicle, Longwood officers will document the use in CAFÉ report and attach a tire deflation device deployment form. This form will not take the place of a vehicle pursuit form when the deployment takes place during a Longwood officer involved vehicle pursuit. Both forms will be required. The report will include digital photographs, which will be submitted into evidence, of the suspect vehicle and all damage caused during the deployment.
8. Officers will obtain replacements for all damaged T.D.D. through a written equipment request submitted prior to the end of that officer’s tour of duty. This request will be attached to the used portion of the T.D.D. deployed.
9. The issued T.D.D. systems will be mounted and stored in the trunk of authorized Longwood police vehicles.
10. Longwood officers involved or assisting other law enforcement agencies must take into consideration that other law enforcement officers may utilize a different type of T.D.D., while acting within a different policy than ours. This Longwood Police Department policy is intended only for Longwood police officers who, within the guidelines, utilize the agency approved T.D.D.
PRECISION IMMOBILIZATION TECHNIQUE
- The precision immobilization technique will only be used by officers who have received Longwood Police Department approved training.
- Officers are authorized to use the precision immobilization technique on vehicles which are occupied by suspects who are reasonably thought to be violent or pose a danger to the public at large. Therefore, officers may use the technique if one or the following conditions exist.
- If the officer reasonably believes the suspect has committed or attempted to commit a forcible felony, as defined in Florida State Statute 776.08.
- If the officer reasonably believes that the fleeing driver poses an immediate threat to the public at large.
- The precision immobilization technique may be used only at a time and place, and in a manner consistent with department approved training, so that human life and property are not unreasonably endangered.
- The use of the precision immobilization technique against motorcycles and vehicles having a high center of gravity (i.e. sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans) is prohibited unless the use of deadly force is justified.
- Trained officers operating sports utility vehicles, pickup trucks, or similar vehicles may only use the technique with extreme caution and only under those conditions when it can be applied with relative safety to the officer, suspect, and innocent parties.
- The use of the precision immobilization technique against vehicles with one or more deflated tires is prohibited unless the use of deadly force is justified.
VEHICLE PURSUIT PREVENTION
XII. TACTICAL VEHICLE POSITIONING:
- In an effort to reduce the need for motor vehicle pursuits, this agency permits the use of tactical vehicle positioning. This procedure is designed to prevent the initiation of motor vehicles pursuits and the escape of suspects in motor vehicles.
- The following criteria will be met prior to the use of tactical vehicle positioning:
- When there is reasonable suspicion to believe an individual in the vehicle has committed an offense justifying arrest and/or the issuance of a traffic citation and;
- When there is reason to believe the suspect may attempt to use the vehicle to flee law enforcement officers and;
- When the suspect vehicle is not in motion.
- Tactical vehicle positioning will consist of using one or more Longwood Police Department vehicles, marked or unmarked, to prevent a stationary motor vehicle from fleeing law enforcement officers. The police department vehicle(s) may be used to obstruct the suspect vehicle from backing or proceeding forward. This should be accomplished by positioning or parking the agency vehicle(s) in close proximity to the front, rear, or side of the suspect vehicle. The positioning, location, and proximity of the suspect vehicle to other vehicles, structures, or objects may dictate the number of vehicles necessary to prevent the vehicle’s movement. Officers should attempt to position the police vehicle with the passenger side towards the suspect vehicle. All available emergency lighting and sirens, on all police vehicles involved, will be activated upon using this tactic.
The officer should endeavor to accomplish tactical vehicle positioning without impacting or colliding with the suspect vehicle; however, the placement should be closed enough to inhibit the movement of the suspect vehicle.