0630.05 Vehicle Interventions and Pursuits

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
PPB-0630.05
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Directive 0630.05 Vehicle Interventions and Pursuits

Refer:

  • ORS § 164.135, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
  • Portland Metropolitan Interagency Pursuit Agreement (2012)
  • BOEC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • DIR 0220.40, Lawsuits and Claims
  • DIR 0310.20, Retaliation Prohibited
  • DIR 0600.00, Aircraft Use
  • DIR 0630.10, Driving Response
  • DIR 0905.00, Non-Force After Action Reports
  • DIR 1010.00, Use of Force
  • DIR 1010.10, Deadly Force and In-Custody Death Reporting and Investigation Procedures
  • DIR 1500.00, Training
  • ICS Forms

Definitions:

  • Boxing In: A coordinated tactic of making contact between police vehicles and a suspect’s vehicle to stop or prevent the start of a pursuit.
    • Dynamic Box-In: A box-in performed on a vehicle that is in motion.
    • Static Box-In: A box-in performed on a vehicle that is not in motion, and that is not reasonably likely to cause physical injury or significant damage.
  • Cover Unit: a sworn member who is involved in the pursuit and may assume responsibility for communication or planning vehicle interventions, when feasible.
  • Force: Physical coercion used to effect, influence, or persuade an individual to comply with an officer, to include the intentional pointing of a firearm at an individual. Control holds and handcuffing without resistance do not constitute force.
  • Marked Unit: An emergency police vehicle equipped with overhead lights.
  • Primary Unit: the sworn member initiating a pursuit and primarily responsible for following the suspect vehicle.
  • Pursuit: An active, deliberate attempt by one or more members to apprehend or keep pace with a suspect in a vehicle, when the suspect is making an active effort to resist apprehension. This does not include the use of Air Support, trailing, or reasonable efforts by members to get into position ahead of the suspect to deploy spike strips or other vehicle interventions where it is possible to do so with due regard for the safety of the public.
  • Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT): A driving technique designed to stop a fleeing motorist safely and quickly by making contact with the fleeing car at a specific point on the vehicle, which throws the car into a spin and brings it to a stop.
  • Ramming: The use of an emergency (police) vehicle, other than in a pursuit intervention technique or boxing in maneuver, to purposely cause contact with another vehicle in order to disable the vehicle.
  • Stop/Spike Strips: Devices used to deflate tires in a controlled fashion.
  • Trailing: A member driving within Code 1, as defined in DIR 0630.10, without emergency equipment activated, while broadcasting updates or observing a suspect vehicle actively resisting apprehension. Trailing is not considered a pursuit.
  • Vehicle: For the purposes of this Directive, a vehicle is a motorized vehicle.
  • Vehicle Intervention Strategies: Tactics which may be used to stop or reduce the speed of a fleeing vehicle in an attempt to reduce safety risks posed to the community, the suspect, and members (e.g., boxing in, pursuit intervention technique, ramming, spike-strips).

Policy:

1.   Apprehending suspects is key to the Bureau’s mission of reducing crime and the fear of crime, however the Bureau recognizes that vehicle pursuits are dynamic and rapidly evolving in nature and, as a result, have inherent safety risks. Therefore, members are expected to only engage in pursuits when the benefits to the public clearly outweigh these inherent risks.

2.   The Bureau shall train all sworn members in pursuit management and intervention techniques. Members shall adhere to this training in both determining whether to engage in a vehicle pursuit and in its management.

Procedure:

1.        General Requirements for Pursuits and Trailing.

1.1.      Authorization.

1.1.1.          Only sworn members shall engage in vehicle pursuits. Members may only employ pursuit intervention strategies that are Bureau approved and that they have been trained to use.

1.1.2.          Members shall only initiate a pursuit of a suspect fleeing in a vehicle:

1.1.2.1.     When there is reasonable suspicion to believe the suspect committed a felony person crime; or

1.1.2.2.     Where the suspect’s driving behavior, prior to police presence or an attempt to initiate a stop, places the public in immediate danger of serious physical injury or death.

1.1.3.          Supervisors may authorize a pursuit in an extraordinary circumstance not listed above, when it is clear that the benefits of immediately apprehending the suspect outweigh the risks of the pursuit.

1.1.3.1.     Supervisors should consider the totality of the circumstances when evaluating whether extraordinary circumstances exist, including:

1.1.3.1.1.    The threat posed by the suspect to the public.

1.1.3.1.2.    The severity of the crime or crimes committed by the suspect.

1.1.3.1.3.    The risk involved in the pursuit.

1.1.3.1.4.    Whether the pursuit is likely to reduce the threat posed by the suspect.

1.1.3.1.5.    The availability of additional units to employ interventions.

1.1.3.1.6.    If the suspect can be located or apprehended more safely at another time.

1.2.     Prohibitions.

1.2.1.          Members shall not engage in pursuits or use vehicle intervention techniques under the following circumstances:

1.2.1.1.     When, in the totality of the circumstances, the risk to the public, suspects, and members outweighs the benefit of apprehending the suspect; or

1.2.1.2.     When the member has an objectively reasonable belief, that the suspect can be located or apprehended more safely at a future time.

1.3.     Disengagement.

1.3.1.          Members shall disengage from a pursuit under the following circumstances:

1.3.1.1.     If the member is driving any vehicle other than a four-wheeled pursuit-rated marked unit when a pursuit is initiated, that member shall disengage primary pursuit when a four-wheeled pursuit-rated marked unit is in position to assume the pursuit. The disengaging unit may follow at a safe distance until the conclusion of the pursuit.

1.3.1.2.     The pursuit has entered another jurisdiction, another agency has taken over the primary role in the pursuit, and the other agency has adequate cover present.

1.3.1.3.     If a collision occurs as a result of the pursuit that is reasonably likely to require immediate medical assistance and more than one police vehicle is in pursuit, at least one pursuing member shall disengage from the pursuit and render appropriate aid while the other members continue pursuit.

1.3.1.3.1.    If only one police vehicle is in pursuit and a collision occurs under these circumstances, but the benefit of capture outweighs disengagement, the pursuing member must call for immediate backup to render appropriate aid; the involved member may continue the pursuit.

1.3.1.4.     When the Air Support Unit (ASU) is available, it shall assume primary responsibility for coordinating the pursuit and tracking the suspect vehicle. Once ASU is on scene and coordinating the pursuit, other units shall reduce speed and increase following distance, unless attempting a coordinated vehicle intervention strategy.

1.3.1.4.1.    The Supervisor managing the pursuit shall maintain responsibility for overall pursuit management, including the authority to direct involved units to disengage and allow ASU to follow the vehicle.

1.4.     Trailing.

1.4.1.          When a pursuit is not authorized, members may trail the suspect in a code 1 response, without their emergency equipment activated, in order to broadcast updates about the suspect’s location to ASU, or when feasible to direct other units into position to attempt a vehicle intervention.

1.4.1.1.     Supervisors may terminate trailing at any time.

2.        Preplanned Pursuit Authorization:

2.1.     Preplanned missions may offer the opportunity to mitigate the risk of vehicle pursuits by giving members the opportunity to prepare in advance, and by ensuring that appropriate resources are in place to resolve pursuits quickly.

2.1.1.          All pursuits must be individually justified based on the totality of the circumstances.

2.2.     Responsibility Unit (RU) Manager Responsibilities: An RU manager may authorize pursuits for crimes or driving behavior, not otherwise authorized by Section 1.2 or 1.3 of this directive, as part of a preplanned response or mission. The mission must have a written Incident Action Plan (IAP) that includes at least the following:

2.2.1        A 24-hour period during which the IAP will be in effect.

2.2.2        Why pursuit authorization is necessary for the mission.

2.2.3        What Vehicle Intervention Strategies are in place that increase the likelihood that a pursuit can be resolved quickly and safely.

2.2.4        The resources available to the mission (e.g., K9, ASU, plain clothes or under cover units), that will make it possible to resolve pursuits more quickly.

2.2.5        The specific circumstances during the mission or response that will justify the use of vehicle pursuits.

2.2.6        A designated Bureau supervisor who will authorize and manage pursuits.

2.3. Supervisor Responsibilities During Preplanned Missions.

2.3.1        Supervisors shall brief all members participating in the mission, on the specific circumstances justifying a vehicle pursuit under the IAP, and any strategies and resources in place to safely resolve pursuits.

2.3.2        Authorize and manage pursuits consistent with the requirements of this directive.

2.4. Member Responsibilities During Preplanned Missions.   

2.4.1        Only members assigned to a mission or preplanned response may initiate a pursuit authorized under this section, unless the mission supervisor authorizes a non-assigned member to initiate the pursuit.

2.4.2        Members not involved in the preplanned mission or response may participate in a pursuit authorized under this section as needed.

2.4.3          Members are still responsible for all other parts of this directive. 

3.        Vehicle Intervention Strategies and Standards.

3.1.      Certain vehicle Interventions, as noted below, are force. As such Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, applies to those interventions, and any application of force must be objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. 

3.2.      Members shall use lights and sirens, prior to using a Vehicle Intervention Strategy, unless preemptive use is justified.

3.3.      Preemptive Use of Vehicle Interventions.

3.3.1.          Members may use a Vehicle Intervention Strategy prior to a subject eluding or the initiation of a pursuit when it is objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.

3.3.1.1.     A member’s belief must be based on specific articulable facts about the suspect and their behavior including but not limited to; deactivating lights, changed driving behavior after observing police, or prior flights by the suspect.

3.3.1.2.     Members may preemptively use a Vehicle Intervention Strategy without activating lights and sirens as a warning. 

3.4.      Authorized Vehicles.

3.4.1.          Members may only use vehicles authorized by the Training Division to perform specific vehicle interventions.

3.5.      Boxing-In.

3.5.1.          Static Box-Ins: Members may employ this tactic when the member reasonably believes that in the totality of the circumstances the benefits of the maneuver outweigh the risks. To be considered a static box-in, the subject vehicle MUST NOT be in motion, and the maneuver is not reasonably likely to cause injury or damage.  

3.5.1.1.     A static box in may be performed using a fixed object when it is not feasible to use a second police vehicle.

3.5.1.2.     A static Box-in that results in an injury or where the maneuver is reasonably likely to cause injury is reportable force.

3.5.1.2.1.    Members must document static box-ins in an appropriate police report.

3.5.2.          Dynamic Box-Ins: Members may employ this maneuver when it is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, taking into account the suspect’s behavior, speeds, vehicle and road conditions, and the underlying offense.  

3.5.2.1.     A dynamic box-in must be performed using two or more police vehicles.

3.5.2.2.     As described in Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, Dynamic Box-Ins are considered force and will be reviewed consistent with Directive 0910.00 Use of Force Reporting, Review, and Investigation.

3.6.     Pursuit Intervention Technique.

3.6.1.        Members shall not use this tactic on two-wheeled vehicles, passenger-occupied buses, or vehicles transporting hazardous materials. Members may employ this maneuver when it is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, including the suspects behavior, speeds, vehicle and road conditions, and the underlying offense.  

3.6.2.        Pursuit Intervention Techniques are considered force and will be reviewed consistent with Directive 0910.00 Use of Force Reporting, Review, and Investigation.

3.7.      Ramming.

3.7.1.        Ramming carries a higher risk of injury or property damage than other interventions. Members may use a vehicle ram when it is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, taking into account the suspect’s behavior, speeds, vehicle and road conditions, and the underlying offense. Members must also consider the specific ramming technique used, and whether it is reasonably likely to cause injury.

3.7.2.        Ramming is considered force and will be reviewed consistent with Directive 0910.00 Use of Force Reporting, Review, and Investigation.

3.8.       Stop/Spike Strips.

3.8.1.        Member use of this tactic does not constitute force.

3.8.2.        Members may employ the device, when reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.

3.8.3.        Members may not employ Stop Sticks/Spike Strips on two or three wheeled vehicles.

4.        Pursuits Involving Other Jurisdictions.

4.1.      For pursuits coming into the Bureau’s jurisdiction from another jurisdiction, the managing supervisor will determine whether members will become involved in the pursuit. If the supervisor determines that the Bureau will assist in the pursuit, members may only engage in the pursuit consistent with this policy, regardless of the policies of the originating jurisdiction.

4.2.      For pursuits beginning in Bureau jurisdiction, but leaving from this jurisdiction, it is the responsibility of a managing supervisor or a designated member 1) inform the receiving jurisdiction of the conditions giving rise to the pursuit and the actions taken during the pursuit; and 2) request assistance from the receiving jurisdiction. If the receiving jurisdiction agrees to assume primary control of the pursuit, once that transfer occurs, the Bureau will only continue the pursuit in a supporting role. If the receiving agency elects to terminate the pursuit while in that jurisdiction, PPB members will also terminate the pursuit.

4.2.1.          Members will terminate a pursuit that travels into the State of Washington, unless the underlying offense is a violent person-to-person felony.

4.3.      Supervisors shall ensure notification and direct control of pursuits that either extend into, or are received from other jurisdictions, including the State of Washington.

5.        Pursuit Termination.

5.1.      Members must terminate a pursuit when the safety risks posed to the community clearly outweigh the benefit of capturing the suspect. Termination may be called by any sworn member, whether involved in the pursuit or not. Members will terminate a pursuit when ordered to do so by any supervisor.

5.2.      Once a pursuit is terminated, involved members shall verbally acknowledge the termination over the radio, disengage and stop following the suspect vehicle. If involved in the pursuit, the Air Support Unit may continue to monitor the fleeing vehicle, but reengagement by ground units is limited by Section 6 of this Directive.

5.2.1.          Members may, with supervisor approval, trail a suspect vehicle following a termination.

5.3.      Per Directive 0310.20, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Prohibited, members shall not retaliate against involved members regarding the decision to terminate a pursuit.

5.4.      Members shall refer concerned property owner(s) whose property may have been damaged during a pursuit to the City of Portland's Risk Management Office, in accordance with Directive 0220.40, Lawsuits and Claims.

6.        Pursuit Reengagement.

6.1.      After termination, a member may reengage a pursuit of the suspect vehicle only, with the permission of a supervisor, and if the member is able to articulate why circumstances have changed, and why the benefits of apprehension now outweigh the risks of the pursuit.

7.        Reporting.

7.1.      Members who engaged in the pursuit and/or employed or attempted any vehicle intervention techniques shall complete an appropriate police report detailing the pursuit in accordance with directives.

7.2.      Members shall document the use of stop/spike strips in an appropriate police report.

7.3.      Supervisors will complete after-action reviews and investigations in accordance with Directive 0910.00, Use of Force Reporting, Review, and Investigation, or Directive 0905.00, Non-Force After Action Reports.

7.3.1.          The intervention strategies detailed above, when used on a subject’s vehicle, are not accidents, and thus do not require accident-related investigation and reporting.

7.4.          The Chief’s Office will complete an annual report that covers trends in pursuits and identifies training, policy, and personnel issues, when applicable.

8.        General Responsibilities for Members.

8.1.      Members must continuously weigh the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the benefits of apprehension outweigh the risk of the pursuit.

8.2.      Only a maximum of three units shall engage in a pursuit with lights and sirens continuously activated.

8.2.1.        A supervisor may authorize exceptions to the three-unit maximum under very limited circumstances and only when an unusually dangerous situation dictates (e.g., multiple dangerous suspects, shots fired, armed robbery, etc.). Supervisory approval for additional pursuit vehicles must be authorized by voice over the air.

8.2.2.        The decision to attempt to use a vehicle intervention technique maneuver will not, alone, be a justification for a fourth unit.

8.3.      The primary unit shall, as soon as feasible, broadcast the initiation of the pursuit, its location, and the reasons for it. The primary will then broadcast regular updates with pertinent information (e.g., location, speeds, road conditions, suspect behavior).

8.3.1.          When a cover unit joins the pursuit, this member may assume responsibility for communications, when feasible. Any additional cover units involved in the pursuit will support the primary unit and look for opportunities to safely employ vehicle interventions to end the pursuit.

8.4.      Other members/units in the general vicinity of the pursuit who are not directly involved may proceed with caution to a position that would assist in perimeter support or to deploy stop/spike sticks.

8.5.      Members shall not initiate a pursuit or use vehicle intervention strategies (other than spike strips), when transporting suspects, witnesses, complainants, or ride-along participants, or other members of the public (i.e., non-Bureau members) unless there is an imminent threat to life to the public or the member.

8.5.1.          This does not apply to sworn officers from other agencies, or city employees acting within the scope of their employment.   

8.6.      Members carrying cadets, PS3s, chaplains, or other non-sworn Bureau members will disengage from a pursuit, as soon as feasible.

9.        General Responsibilities for Supervisors.

9.1.      In managing a pursuit, supervisors shall:

9.1.1.          Announce their role over the radio;

9.1.2.        Determine if the pursuit is authorized and announce that decision on the radio;

9.1.3.        Respond to the area of the pursuit;

9.1.4.        Continually balance the safety risks posed to the community against the benefit of capture in managing the pursuit;

9.1.5.   Authorize and direct additional units to engage in a pursuit, as needed;

9.1.6.   Ensure radio communication between all applicable parties;

9.1.7.          Devise, approve, and direct appropriate pursuit intervention strategies to end a pursuit as quickly as possible, so as to avoid or mitigate safety risks;

9.1.8.          Manage notification and direct control of pursuits that either extend into or are received from other jurisdictions;

9.1.9.          Order the pursuit be terminated when necessary (e.g., members are not adequately broadcasting updates, intervention strategies are not being implemented, there are not enough resources available to employ intervention the safety risks posed to the community clearly outweigh the benefit of capture);

9.1.9.1.          If ordering termination of a pursuit, verify with the involved member(s) their location at the time of the pursuit termination and document that location in the After-Action Report.

9.1.10. Ensure reports are completed in accordance with directives; and

9.1.11 Conduct a debriefing with all involved members. The debrief should include an overview of the pursuit and, when applicable, a discussion of any vehicle intervention strategies employed. Confirm that the debrief occurred in the After-Action Report.

Established: 09/06/01

Effective: 01/14/2024

Next Review Date: 01/14/2025

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