E.P.P. 4 Response To Calls For Service

I.             PURPOSE:


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and procedures by which calls for law enforcement service are responded to by officers.


II.            SCOPE:


This directive will outline responsibility to the public in responding to calls for service. It requires personnel to do everything within their power to protect the public and themselves from damage or injury while operating a vehicle or vessel.




A.            In determining an appropriate response to a call for service, an officer will consider the following factors:


                1.            The nature of the call;


                2.            Injured persons and the nature of the injury, if known;


                3.            Potential of harm to the victim or public;


                4.            Passage of time;


                5.            Potential for property damage or loss; and,


                6.            The likelihood of apprehending the perpetrator in an in-progress call.


B.            All emergency or urgent responses will be judged for the potential of creating property damage, injury, or loss of life. No emergency or urgent response will be initiated or continued when it is not in the best of interest of the public.


C.            Supervisors will routinely monitor subordinates’ responses to calls for service, and shall order the driving response of a subordinate altered accordingly.




An officer responding to a call for service shall comply with one of the following procedures:


                A.            ROUTINE CALL:


A call for service that involves a criminal act, other event, or incident which is ‘over with’ and represents no threat to human life.


                Driving Response:


                All traffic laws, ordinances, and traffic control devices are to be obeyed.


B.            PRIORITY CALL:


                A call for service involving a criminal act, other event, or incident, which is ‘non-life threatening, but in progress’ and represents no threat to human life.


                Driving Response:


                All traffic laws, ordinances, and traffic control devices will be obeyed. Emergency lights and siren may be utilized to clear paths through intersections and congested traffic.


C.            URGENT CALL:


                A call for service involving a criminal act, other event, or incident which is ‘life threatening, and in progress’ and represents a possible danger to human life.


                Driving Response:


                Officers should operate their vehicles or vessels at speeds, which are reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard to the actual and potential hazards existing. Emergency lighting and sirens will be used during all ‘urgent’ responses.


                In the event that any call for service involves an act of violence and/or the potential for physical harm to a person, the responding officer(s) may upgrade to an urgent response.




A.            Officers are prohibited from using an emergency mode of travel to proceed through an intersection, attempt to clear traffic from a roadway, or violate any traffic law during any response to a call that is ‘routine’ in nature.


B.            Four way hazard flashers should only be used when the patrol vehicle is in a stationary position and performing a specific function (i.e. traffic control or road closure.) The flashers should not be used when the vehicle is being operated in emergency mode, since the flashers may make the brake lights of the vehicle inoperable.


C.            An officer may proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation. 


D.            An officer shall not proceed through an intersection until all surrounding traffic has yielded to his/her emergency vehicle.


E.            The use of emergency equipment notifies other traffic of an officer’s request for the right-of-way; it does not guarantee that other traffic will yield.


F.            When proceeding through traffic congestion while using emergency equipment, an officer will drive with due caution and shall allow the drivers of vehicles opportunity and time to respond to the officer’s request.


G.           In accordance with Chapter 316.072, Florida State Statutes:  An officer is not relived from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons. Also, the provisions for emergency driving do not protect the officer from the consequences of reckless disregard for the safety of others.