This order consists of the following:
The purpose of this policy is to establish the guidelines for vehicle apprehensions and pursuits.
The Orange County Sheriffs Office will make every reasonable effort to stop violators. The protection of life, both civilian and law enforcement, is the foremost concern that governs this policy. Deputies must balance the need to stop a suspect against the potential threat to themselves and the public created by a pursuit or apprehension.
A. Active Participants all deputies who directly follow the vehicle pursuit (Vehicle 1, 2, K-9) or take overt action to stop the vehicle.
B. Diversionary Traffic Stop a system of covert vehicle maneuvers, utilizing a minimum of three vehicles, tactically parked, resulting in the immobilization of the target vehicle.
C. Electronic Tracking equipment that is in a vehicle that allows it to be tracked from a remote location. This is either done through a proprietary means or by the use of G.P.S. Satellites, or some other combination.
D. Paralleling following a similar course as the suspect by operating on adjacent roads to where the suspect is driving.
E. Primary Pursuit Vehicle the emergency unit that is immediately behind the suspect.
F. Reasonable Suspicion knowledge sufficient to induce an ordinarily prudent and cautious deputy to believe criminal activity is at hand. It must be based on specific and articulable facts which taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant intrusion (per G.O. 7.1.1).
G. Secondary Pursuit Vehicle the emergency unit that trails the primary pursuit unit.
H. Stationary Roadblock (Channelization) tactic designed to offer a limited path of travel to a moving violator vehicle. The channelization is designed to offer an obstacle to the violator and makes use of a display of force and Stop Sticks® should the violator choose to proceed through the path of escape (channel).
I. Tactical Parking the positioning of one or more agency vehicles, marked or unmarked, in a position to eliminate the fleeing of a suspect vehicle from a parked position or traveling less than ten (10) miles per hour.
J. Termination when agency members discontinue the attempt to stop and/or apprehend a suspect vehicle.
K. Tire Deflation Devices equipment designed to be placed in the path of an oncoming violator vehicle and struck by that vehicle. When struck the affected tires are pierced by objects that let a controlled amount of air out of the tire. These tire deflation devices are to be used only in a manner consistent with training. Stop Sticks® may be used on vehicles that are traveling greater than ten (10) miles per hour and Piranha® and/or Barracuda® devices may be used on parked/stopped vehicles or those traveling less than ten (10) miles per hour.
L. Traffic Stop an attempt by a deputy utilizing emergency equipment, hand signals, etc., to stop a motor vehicle.
M. Vehicle Apprehension Techniques the tactics and strategies that are designed to take a suspect into custody who is in a moving or parked motor vehicle that includes, but are not limited to, tactical parking, diversionary traffic stops, utilization of controlled tire deflation devices, stationary roadblocks (channelization), or other approved tactics.
N. Vehicle Pursuit an attempt by a deputy in an authorized emergency vehicle to apprehend a fleeing suspect who is actively attempting to elude the police.
O. Watch Commander A sworn supervisor or manager holding the rank of Commander or above (Sergeant in the case of Acting Watch Commander) that assumes tactical control/responsibility for the pursuit/apprehension event.
P. Exigent Circumstances those situations that fall outside the normal scope of operation or policy and require immediate aid or action. In exigent circumstances, if authorized by a Watch Commander or above, a deputy may pursue only if there is a reasonable belief that the continuing conduct of the violator presents an immediate and life threatening danger to the public, deputy(ies) or the violator.
A. Decision to pursue
1. Deputies may engage in a vehicle pursuit when they have a reasonable suspicion to believe that a fleeing suspect has committed or has attempted to commit or has a warrant for one of the below listed violent forcible felonies:
c. Sexual battery
e. Home invasion
f. Robbery with a weapon or firearm (implied or actual)
h. Aggravated battery
i. Aggravated assault with a firearm
j. Aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer
k. Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb
2. A Watch Commander may authorize the pursuit of a vehicle, when reasonable suspicion exists, indicating a domestic security threat. This decision shall be based upon credible information from a reliable source, i.e., FBI, Homeland Security, etc.
3. A Watch Commander may authorize the pursuit of a vehicle when exigent circumstances exist and there is a reasonable belief that the continuing conduct of the violator presents an immediate and life threatening danger to the public, deputy(ies) or the violator.
4. Suspects who are wanted for violation of probation (VOP) for any offense shall not be considered a suspect in the aforementioned crimes. Therefore, pursuits are not authorized for VOP warrants.
5. Pursuits for misdemeanor offenses, non-forcible felonies, traffic, or civil infractions are prohibited.
6. The decision to initiate a pursuit must be based on the deputys conclusion that the immediate danger to the public created by the pursuit is less than the immediate or potential danger to the public should the suspect remain at large. Many factors have bearing on this decision, including, but not limited to:
a. The originating offense meets the policy threshold for pursuit.
b. Alternative means of apprehension.
c. Nature of the suspected violent forcible felony.
d. The potential for endangerment of the public caused by the eluding acts of a fleeing violator.
e. The amount of vehicle and/or pedestrian traffic.
f. Possibility of identifying the operator and/or vehicle at a later date.
g. Daylight or darkness.
h. Weather conditions.
i. Road conditions.
j. Type of police vehicle.
k. Vehicle speeds.
l. Quality of radio communications between pursuing deputies, the dispatcher and the supervisor.
m. Actions of the person being pursued.
7. Once the decision has been made to engage in pursuit, the above listed factors shall continue to be given careful consideration in determining whether to continue the pursuit.
8. Deputies, supervisors, and commanders at all levels have a responsibility to closely monitor the progress of each pursuit. The need for apprehension must be constantly weighed against the potential danger created by the pursuit.
B. Vehicle Pursuit Communications
1. Upon initiation of a vehicle pursuit the deputy should immediately notify the dispatcher of the vehicle pursuit providing description of the vehicle, tag number, occupants, location and direction of travel, reason for the vehicle pursuit and request emergency traffic on the radio.
2. If a deputy is not working on a primary talkgroup and engages in a vehicle pursuit, he or she shall immediately notify the primary talkgroup operator of the pursuit. The deputy or supervisor in charge shall request a patch of the two talkgroups if needed
3. The dispatcher shall ensure the supervisor of the deputy involved in the vehicle pursuit, or the on-duty patrol supervisor, is advised of the pursuit via the radio. The supervisor in charge shall acknowledge via the radio his/her knowledge of the vehicle pursuit in progress.
4. Communications will advise other units on all primary talkgroups and notify the Aviation unit(s) and K-9 unit(s) to respond.
6. If the vehicle pursuit goes into another sector from which it started, the radio traffic continues on the originating talkgroup. As the vehicle pursuit enters another sector, the dispatcher shall patch the talkgroups rather than have the pursuing deputy switch channels. If the pursuit continues out of county, Communications will determine the appropriate talkgroup to utilize.
7. Any deputy, whether or not an active participant in the pursuit, shall notify the supervisor in charge of the pursuit of any pertinent tactical considerations including, but not limited to, the suspects driving behavior, i.e., violation of traffic laws, near collision, and upcoming road hazards such as school zones, vehicle and pedestrian traffic, road conditions, etc.
8. When the order to discontinue a pursuit is given, the dispatcher shall activate the alert tone and announce, All units discontinue the pursuit. Active participants involved in the pursuit shall acknowledge their termination via radio commencing with the primary pursuit vehicle.
9. Any deputy who observes a vehicle not in compliance with the order to terminate a pursuit, shall immediately notify the supervisor of the situation. The supervisor shall conduct an inquiry to determine the reason for non-compliance and handle according to policy.
C. Conduct of the Vehicle Pursuit
1. The primary pursuit vehicle and the secondary pursuit vehicle will be the only ground vehicles to pursue a fleeing vehicle, unless specific authorization has been granted by a supervisor.
a. When possible a K-9 deputy will be utilized to assist the primary and secondary vehicles in a vehicle pursuit.
b. When a K-9 deputy is utilized in a vehicle pursuit, (not as the primary vehicle) the K-9 deputy will maintain the number three (3) position during the vehicle pursuit.
2. The supervisor may authorize additional vehicles to assist for officer safety.
3. The secondary pursuit vehicle shall not follow too closely and shall not attempt to pass the primary pursuit vehicle unless the primary pursuit vehicle is forced to drop out of the vehicle pursuit.
4. The continuous operation of emergency lights and sirens is required for all units directly in pursuit of the suspect. All other units actively involved will maintain operational control of their emergency lights and sirens.
5. Existing conditions and the availability of other road patrol or Aviation units will be used to determine the course of action taken to apprehend a fleeing suspect.
6. Available back up units will remain in their assigned zones, unless otherwise directed. However, back up units will move to the area of their zone that is closest to the location of the vehicle pursuit. Units assigned to duties other than patrol shall not become active participants in any vehicle pursuit unless directed to do so by a supervisor or pursuing deputy.
7. Deputies should attempt to provide for due care and safety of the public by protecting them from inadvertently entering the vehicle pursuit area.
8. Deputies in unmarked vehicles and on motorcycles may initiate a pursuit, using due care, and using proper emergency equipment (emergency lights and siren) until a marked vehicle can take over the vehicle pursuit.
1. Primary Pursuit Vehicle
a. Maintain contact with the suspect.
b. Give initial location, direction of travel, suspect and vehicle description and crime committed information via radio.
c. Constantly evaluate all factors to continue or discontinue the pursuit.
d. Assume responsibility for completion of applicable reports stemming from the vehicle pursuit.
2. Secondary Pursuit Vehicle
a. Handle all ongoing communications via radio relating to direction(s) of travel, additional suspect description(s), and all matters relating to the actual pursuit. This shall not restrict the supervisor from giving instructions or other information directly to any vehicle(s) involved or to the dispatcher.
b. Assist the primary pursuit vehicle as necessary.
c. Constantly evaluate all factors to continue or discontinue the pursuit on the radio.
d. Assist the primary pursuit vehicle with the required documentation pertaining to the pursuit.
3. Supervisor in Command
a. Shall immediately take command and control of the vehicle pursuit.
b. Shall have overall responsibility for the decisions concerning continuance or discontinuance of the vehicle pursuit.
c. Shall be in command of the vehicle pursuit tactics.
d. Shall constantly evaluate all factors to continue or discontinue the pursuit.
4. Watch Commander/Shift Commander
monitor the vehicle pursuit and ensure compliance with this General Order.
b. Shall immediately take command and control of the vehicle pursuit in the event a supervisor fails to do so, or to correct decisions.
c. Responsibility for vehicle pursuits that cross sector boundaries rests with the supervisor or Watch Commander of the sector in which the vehicle pursuit began, unless control is taken over by a deputy of higher rank.
d. Shall constantly evaluate all factors to continue or discontinue the pursuit.
a. When possible, K-9 deputies will be utilized as vehicle number three and will stay close enough so the K-9 may be utilized in the apprehension or tracking of suspect(s) if necessary.
b. The utilization of K-9 will be coordinated through the supervisor in command.
c. K-9 units
actively engaged in the vehicle pursuit will complete a Supplemental Report detailing
a. Aviation units will be requested to respond to all vehicle pursuits.
b. If the Aviation flight crew makes visual contact with the vehicle being pursued, they will immediately advise the surface units. The flight crew will keep the supervisor apprised of the suspects location for other available tactical apprehension options.
c. The flight crew shall call off a pursuit if they observe safety concerns based on the significant factors as listed in section 4(A)(5) of this policy.
d. If the Aviation flight crew observes an agency vehicle actively engaged in a pursuit after an order has been issued to disengage, the flight crew shall advise the supervisor in command of the vehicles identification via radio.
a. Ensures the road supervisor is aware of the vehicle pursuit.
b. Ensures the Communications supervisor is notified of the pursuit.
c. Advises and keeps other units informed of the vehicle pursuit.
d. Ensures the appropriate patching of talkgroups is completed when necessary.
E. Multi-Jurisdictional Vehicle Pursuits
engaged in a vehicle pursuit that leaves
b. The dispatcher is responsible for promptly notifying the county into which the vehicle pursuit is traveling. This notification should include but is not limited to the following:
1. Vehicle and suspect descriptions.
2. Details of the charges.
3. Any available data on the vehicle pursuit, such as length, speeds, and suspect's driving skills displayed.
c. The county into which the vehicle pursuit is traveling is responsible for determining if they will assist with the pursuit.
1. If the county into which the vehicle pursuit is traveling determines they will assist with the pursuit, we will request personnel from that agency assume command of the vehicle pursuit once a deputy from that county joins the pursuit.
2. Upon the arrest of the suspect being pursued, the requirements of Section 901.25, Florida State Statutes, shall be followed. (This section directs that the arrestee be taken before a judge of the county in which the arrest is made.)
of the Orange County
Pursuits from Other Jurisdictions Entering Unincorporated
a. If a
vehicle pursuit being conducted by a municipality or an adjoining county enters
1. The reason for the vehicle pursuit.
2. Details of the criminal charges.
3. Vehicle and suspect information.
4. Any available data on the vehicle pursuit such as length, speeds, and suspect's driving skills displayed, etc.
b. If it is
determined by an Orange County
c. In the
event the pursuing agency fails to terminate the vehicle pursuit, Orange County
d. If the
decision is made to continue the vehicle pursuit, the Orange County
e. Once the
appropriate Orange County
f. If an arrest is made, the requirement of Section 901.25, Florida State Statutes, shall be followed. (This section directs that the arrestee be taken before a judge of the county in which the arrest is made.)
F. Termination of Pursuit
1. When a supervisor, a manager, the primary pursuit vehicle, or flight crew member directs that a vehicle pursuit be terminated, all deputies will do so immediately by ceasing to follow or attempting to apprehend the fleeing vehicle in any way. The deputies involved will turn off all emergency equipment when it is safe to do so. When it is safe to do so, the deputy shall pull over to the side of the road and stop, or turn in another direction away from the suspect. If this is unsafe, the deputy shall continue at or below the posted speed until the above can be accomplished. The Communications dispatcher shall utilize the Alert Tone and broadcast over the appropriate radio channels that the vehicle pursuit has been terminated. Each active participant in the pursuit shall acknowledge their termination via radio. Deputies shall conform to all traffic laws once no longer engaged in the vehicle pursuit.
2. Any attempt to reengage a suspect in a vehicle after the pursuit has been terminated must be authorized by the Watch Commander.
G. Vehicle Apprehensions/Vehicle Pursuits Involving a Traffic Crash Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and/or Death
1. The Watch Commander shall notify the on-call Professional Standards supervisor of the incident. The Professional Standards supervisor will respond to the scene.
H. Post Pursuit Reporting and Review
1. An Incident Report shall be completed by the Primary Pursuit Vehicle and a Supplement Report by active participants in the pursuit. All vehicle apprehension tactics used or attempted shall be documented in the Incident Report with the deputys name and description of the technique employed (tire deflation devices, road blocks, etc.).
2. The Vehicle Pursuit Form shall be completed as follows:
a. When engaged in a vehicle pursuit.
b. Or when directed by a supervisor.
3. The Vehicle Pursuit Form shall be completed by the deputy conducting the vehicle pursuit and submitted to the next level of supervision prior to the end of the shift.
4. The deputy's supervisor shall ensure the Vehicle Pursuit Form is properly completed and verify compliance with agency written directives. The deputy's supervisor shall critique the incident. If necessary, the supervisor shall document any problems or concerns that may impact the conduct of future vehicle pursuits.
5. The deputy's supervisor shall sign the Vehicle Pursuit Form and forward it via chain of command to the appropriate Division Commander. The Division Commander shall review the circumstances of the pursuit to ensure compliance with all appropriate agency written directives. The Division Commander, upon completion of the review, shall distribute the form as follows:
a. White copy Professional Standards
b. Yellow copy Research & Development
c. Pink copy - Training
6. Should the Division conduct an inquiry into the pursuit, all documentation from the inquiry shall be attached to the Pursuit Form and forwarded to Professional Standards.
7. Any vehicle pursuit determined to be in violation of agency directives shall be handled in accordance with General Order 5.1.0.
8. The Division Commander shall forward copies of all documentation regarding pursuits to Professional Standards. Professional Standards will conduct an investigation of any vehicle pursuit or apprehension that results in serious bodily injury or death or upon the request of a Division Commander.
9. Training shall conduct an annual documented analysis of all vehicle pursuit reports in order to identify compliance to policy, specific patterns or trends that indicate training needs and/or policy modifications. This analysis shall be distributed to the Sheriff and the Command Staff.
I. Criteria for Utilizing Vehicle Apprehension Techniques
1. Vehicle apprehension techniques may be utilized if the deputy reasonably believes, with the totality of the circumstances, that they may employ such techniques without creating undue risk to themselves and the public.
2. If an apprehension technique is utilized during a vehicle pursuit and the technique is unsuccessful, the supervisor shall be notified as he/she must approve the use of any additional apprehension techniques.
3. If an apprehension technique, other than a tire deflation device, is utilized in an attempt to apprehend a vehicle for anything other than an approved vehicle pursuit and that effort fails, no further attempts to apprehend the vehicle will be made. The use of Piranha® and/or Barracuda® tire deflation devices, in conjunction with a tactical park, shall be considered a single apprehension technique.
J. Authorized Techniques for Vehicle Pursuits
1. Tire deflation devices (Stop Sticks®)
Stop Sticks® may be utilized during pursuits as a technique to attempt to stop the fleeing vehicle.
a. Stop Sticks® shall only be deployed by personnel who have received training.
b. Stop Sticks® shall not be deployed to terminate motorcycle pursuits.
c. Deputies involved in the deployment of Stop Sticks® shall redirect civilian vehicle traffic away from the deployment area.
d. Stop Sticks® are designed to be employed when the vehicle to be apprehended is traveling at ten (10) miles per hour or greater. Tire deflation devices are not as effective at lower speeds.
e. Upon deployment of the Stop Sticks®, deputies will immediately notify the supervisor of the success or failure to stop the vehicle.
a. Authorized by a Commander or above.
b. All Stationary Road Blocks (Channelizations) must be illuminated with flares or patrol vehicle overhead emergency lights and emergency lighting equipment. Proper care must be given to avoid completely blinding the fleeing driver.
c. Stop Sticks® shall be used if available.
d. This technique shall only be used by personnel who have received training provided by Training.
e. The deputy shall immediately notify the supervisor of the success or failure to stop the vehicle.
K. Authorized Techniques for Vehicle Apprehensions
1. Traffic stop
Due to the publics concern for safety, there may be circumstances where a deputy initiates a traffic stop and the violator declines to stop, yet makes no effort to elude or attempt to flee. The deputy is authorized to follow the violator to a populated, well lit area, while driving in accordance with traffic laws. The deputy will immediately discontinue should the violator make any effort to flee or elude.
2. Piranha® and Barracuda®
These tire deflation devices may be used by deputies as a pursuit prevention measure for stationary vehicles or vehicles traveling less than ten (10) miles per hour. They may be used for the following:
a. Authorized Driver Safety/DUI checkpoints
b. Suspect surveillance
c. Buy/Bust drug operations
d. Warrant Service
e. Other situations where the movement of a stationary vehicle must be prevented.
f. Diversionary traffic stop
3. Diversionary Traffic Stop
A system of covert vehicle maneuvers, utilizing a minimum of three vehicles tactically parked, resulting in the immobilization of the target vehicle. This technique is only authorized when all involved participants have successfully completed the diversionary traffic stop class.
a. Civilian Safety
Special attention will be paid to civilians in the area so their safety is not jeopardized.
Deputies must be aware of the potential for a cross-fire. If firearms become involved, deputies should position themselves for maximum safety.
c. Deputies shall take a position that does not place them in the path of the vehicle. (Note: this does not apply to the deputy positioning for an auto trap technique.)
d. Terminating the Procedure
1. If there is an indication from the suspect that he/she is aware of the vehicles presence and alerted to this tactic, this method will not be utilized.
2. The deputy in the primary apprehension vehicle or the supervisor in charge will direct the actions of all vehicles involved in the Tactical Parking Procedure.
e. The deputy shall immediately notify the supervisor of the success or failure to stop the vehicle.
4. Tactical Parking
The positioning of one or more agency vehicles, marked or unmarked, in a position to eliminate the fleeing of a suspect vehicle from a parked position or traveling less than ten (10) miles per hour.
L. Vehicle Apprehension Form
1. A Vehicle Apprehension form will be completed for the following:
a. When a deputy conducts a traffic stop as defined in this policy and the violator refuses to comply with the command.
b. When a vehicle apprehension tactic is utilized in an attempt to apprehend a suspect vehicle not involved in a vehicle pursuit.
2. The deputys supervisor shall ensure the Vehicle Apprehension Form is properly completed and verify compliance with agency written directives. The deputys supervisor shall critique the incident. If necessary, the supervisor shall document any problems or concerns that may impact the conduct of future vehicle apprehensions.
3. The deputys supervisor shall sign the Vehicle Apprehension Form and forward it via chain of command to the appropriate Division Commander. The Division Commander shall review the circumstances of the apprehension to ensure compliance with all appropriate agency written directives. The Division Commander, upon completion of the review, shall distribute the form as follows:
a. White copy Professional Standards
b. Yellow copy Research & Development
c. Pink copy Training
4. The use of an apprehension technique in violation of agency directives shall be handled in accordance with General Order 5.1.0.
5. The Division Commander shall forward copies of all documentation regarding the use of vehicle apprehension techniques to Professional Standards. Professional Standards will conduct an investigation of any incident involving the use of an apprehension technique that results in serious bodily injury or death or upon the request of a Division Commander.
M. Aviation as a Surveillance Platform
1. Pre-engagement of Vehicle
In an effort to prevent a pursuit from occurring or a suspect vehicle from fleeing, prior to initiating contact deputies may request an Aviation response to assist in a surveillance mode. Once the flight crew has acquired the vehicle, marked ground units shall pull back and allow Aviation to relay information regarding the suspects actions.
2. Aviation may be utilized as a surveillance platform to monitor suspects who have eluded apprehension techniques
The purpose of this surveillance is to identify the location of the vehicle and/or apprehend the suspect away from the vehicle.
Ground personnel are not authorized to attempt another apprehension technique or become involved in a vehicle pursuit.
3. Terminated Vehicle Pursuit
a. If a pursuit is called off or disengaged, the flight crew will immediately transition from an active role to a surveillance only role and continue to observe the suspect vehicle in a surveillance mode. The flight crew will acknowledge over the Sheriffs radio that the active pursuit has been terminated and they are going into a surveillance only mode.
b. The Watch Commander will determine the need for additional tactics and resources, i.e., unmarked surveillance vehicles, investigative response, etc., should further apprehension efforts be deemed appropriate.
4. The Watch Commander/Supervisor or the flight crew may terminate an airborne surveillance at any time should they feel it is no longer prudent to continue observing the suspect vehicle.