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MIAMI COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE

STANDARD OPERATING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

VEHICULAR PURSUIT SECTION 3.4


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POLICY

1. The primary purpose of the Miami County Sheriffs Office is to protect life and
property. Therefore, this directive is established to provide a guideline for officers
to determine when vehicular pursuit is warranted and procedures which shall be
followed.

2. Vehicular pursuit shall be defined as the attempt by a law enforcement officer to,
by use of an emergency vehicle, apprehend a motorist who has failed to stop when
signaled or directed by a law enforcement officer and is fleeing to avoid
apprehension by the officer.

3. Vehicular pursuit of fleeing suspects presents a clear and present danger to the
public, law enforcement officers, and suspects during the pursuit. Therefore, to
ensure the safety and protection of all persons, the following policy has been
established.

a. Pursuit is only justifiable when the probable harm from the suspects escape
from apprehension exceeds the level of immediate danger to the public, the
officer(s) involved, and the suspect(s) involved in the pursuit. If
identification and apprehension of the suspect(s) can be attained through
other means, pursuit should not be initiated or should be terminated, unless
it is concluded that allowing the suspect to remain at large presents an
imminent threat of death or serious physical harm to the public.

4. The officer who initiated a vehicular pursuit shall file an incident report detailing all
circumstances for and during the pursuit. Said report shall be filed and reviewed by
the shift supervisor prior to ending the officers tour of duty.

a. In the absence of a shift supervisor, the officer shall file and review the
report with the next available shift supervisor.

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PROCEDURE

. Initiation of Pursuit:
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. Officers in a properly equipped emergency vehicle may initiate a vehicular


pursuit when ALL of the following criteria are met:

(1) A suspect operating a motor vehicle has failed to stop when


properly signaled or directed to by a law enforcement officer and
identification and apprehension cannot otherwise be attained;

(2) The suspect exhibits an intention to flee to avoid apprehension for


an alleged commission of a felony or misdemeanor offense that
would normally result in a full custody arrest; and

(3) Allowing the suspect to flee presents an imminent threat to human


life or could cause serious physical harm to person(s) or property.

. Officers shall also consider the following factors when making a


determination of whether to initiate pursuit:

(26448) The condition and performance abilities of the patrol vehicle


and all auxiliary emergency equipment on the vehicle;

(26449) Condition of the roadway over which the pursuit would be


or is being conducted;

(26450) Other vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area; and

(26451) Weather conditions.

. An officer shall avoid pursuing a vehicle going the wrong way on a


controlled access highway unless authorized by a supervisor or the suspect
presents a substantial risk of serious physical harm or death to other
motorists. If pursuit is initiated, providing warning to oncoming traffic shall
be the primary concern.

. Primary Pursuit Officer:

. An officer initiating a pursuit is the primary pursuit officer. Upon initiating a


pursuit, the primary pursuit officer shall immediately notify communications
of the pursuit and provide the following initial information:

() Unit number;
VEHICULAR PURSUIT SECTION 3.4
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() Location and direction of travel of the pursuit;

() Description and license number, if known, of the fleeing suspect=s


vehicle;

() Number of occupants of the vehicle and descriptions if known; and

() Reason for the pursuit and speed.

. Failure to provide initial information to communications may be cause for


the supervisor to order termination of the pursuit. The primary pursuit
officer shall continue to provide information to communications, updating
the following:

() Location and direction of travel (by intersection if possible); or

() Additional information that may lead to identification of the


suspect.

. Supervision of Pursuit:

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Upon notification that a vehicular pursuit is in progress, the supervisor shall
assume command of and monitor the progress and control of the pursuit,
reviewing all information available to determine whether the pursuit should
be continued or terminated.

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The supervisor, in controlling the pursuit is responsible for coordinating the pursuit
by:

(25632) Directing the primary pursuit officer to continue or


terminate the pursuit;

(25633) Directing secondary/backup and/or air support units into or


out of the pursuit;

(25634) Approving, disapproving, and coordinating tactics to be


utilized in the pursuit; and

(25635) Approving or disapproving leaving the jurisdiction to


continue the
pursuit.
VEHICULAR PURSUIT SECTION 3.4
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The supervisor will not authorize more than two (2) emergency vehicles to be in
actual pursuit utilizing emergency lights and siren. Other units may be
directed to follow the pursuit expeditiously in the area, on parallel
roadways, etc. that will best aid in causing the earliest possible conclusion
of the pursuit and arrest.

. Traffic Regulations During Pursuit:

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The primary pursuit officer and any authorized secondary unit shall activate
emergency vehicle headlights, emergency lights and siren prior to beginning
and during a pursuit.

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Officers engaging in a pursuit shall exercise reasonable care in the operation of the
emergency vehicle to protect the safety of the public, themselves and
property in the pursuit.

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Officers may suspend their conformance to normal traffic regulations during a
pursuit, providing proper diligence and reasonable care is exercised in
operating the patrol vehicle and the action is necessary to effect the arrest
of the suspect.

. Pursuit Tactics:

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Only the primary pursuit officer and a secondary/backup unit shall be permitted to
engage in the pursuit.

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Officers may be assigned by the supervisor to assist or follow the pursuit on
parallel roadways or clear traffic etc., if, in the supervisors opinion it will
effect a more rapid, safe conclusion to the pursuit. However, such activity
is prohibited unless expressly authorized by a supervisor.

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Deliberate vehicle contact delivered by a pursuing vehicle to a suspect vehicle by
bumping or ramming to force the suspect to stop is prohibited. The only
exception is when deliberate vehicle contact is necessary for the officer to
defend himself or another person from an imminent threat of death or
serious physical harm. In such event, the Departments policy regarding the
Use of Lethal Force applies,

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Secondary/backup units in a pursuit shall not pass the primary pursuit unit unless
requested by the primary pursuit unit or the primary pursuit unit becomes
disabled.

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(28176) If the secondary/backup unit passes, that unit assumes the


status of primary unit.

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All units
involved in a pursuit shall maintain a safe distance between the officers
vehicle and the preceding vehicle to assure adequate stopping distance is
available.

. Terminating a Pursuit:

. Terminating a pursuit may be in the best interest of protecting life and


property. Pursuits may be terminated at the discretion of the primary
pursuit officer, the supervisor, or the Sheriff.

. Pursuits shall be terminated when any of the following conditions occur:

() Weather or traffic conditions change significantly such that a clear


and imminent threat to life or serious physical harm presents a
higher degree of value than apprehension;

() The distance between the fleeing and pursuit vehicles makes


continuing pursuit pointless or sight of the fleeing vehicle is lost;

() The pursuit has entered a congested urban area or residential area


and the pursuit was initiated for a minor traffic violation;

() The pursued vehicle leaves the jurisdiction of the adjoining county


and the pursuit was initiated for a traffic or misdemeanor violation;

() The risk to life or of causing serious physical harm to persons or


property is higher than the value of apprehension.
. The level of pursuit should be reduced to one of surveillance or support
when:

() Entering an adjoining county where support of an air unit or patrol


units from another agency have been obtained for tracking or
pursuing the fleeing suspect vehicle; or

() Another patrol unit has been assigned as the primary pursuit unit.

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. Any unit sustaining any damage to the patrol vehicle or experiencing failure
of any essential emergency vehicle equipment shall discontinue pursuit or
reduce the level of pursuit to one of surveillance and request direction from
the supervisor.

. Communications:

. Upon notification of a pursuit in progress, communications personnel will


immediately advise the shift supervisor of the pursuit and essential
information regarding the pursuit. The shift supervisor shall monitor the
pursuit and shall assume command for directing progress of the pursuit.

. Communications personnel will perform the following activities during a


pursuit:

(1) monitoring and record all information regarding the pursuit and
suspect vehicle;

(2) notify all units to clear necessary frequencies except for emergency
radio traffic;

(3) obtain ownership of the suspect vehicle and any information


possible regarding the vehicle or occupants via Ohio LEADS or
NCIC;

(4) Notify neighboring jurisdictions, when practicable, when a pursuit


may be entering the neighboring jurisdiction.

. A complete incident report regarding the pursuit shall be filed at the end of
the shift.
. Pursuit Assistance:

a. For pursuits originating from outside Miami County, assistance will be


provided when requested, provided that the requesting agency provides
sufficient information regarding the reason for pursuit that is consistent
with this policy to justify the pursuit.

b. No more than two units shall be in active pursuit. If the pursuit continues
beyond the limits of Miami County and another agency joins the pursuit,

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Miami County units will suspend the pursuit.

c. Miami County units will be governed by this policy/procedure during


pursuit assists.

9. Vehicles Qualified To Enter A Fresh Pursuit

a. Only patrol vehicles equipped with operable emergency lights and siren
should participate in the actual pursuing of the fleeing vehicle.

If a deputy in an unmarked vehicle has probable cause to believe that a


criminal offense has taken place and it warrants immediate police action, he
may attempt to follow the fleeing vehicle until a patrol vehicle equipped
with operable emergency lights and siren enters into the pursuit.

Vehicles that have prisoners, suspects, witnesses, complainants, civilian


riders or other non-law enforcement personnel aboard will not engage in
vehicular pursuit situations.

10. Pursuits Outside Of Miami County

a. Deputies involved in a pursuit outside of Miami County are reminded that


Ohio Revised Code Section 2935.03 applies and shall be adhered to
accordingly. Of primary concern in this section is that pursuits outside of
the county are limited to felonies and first and second degree
misdemeanors.

Pursuits outside the county present additional risks to the deputies involved
as they would not be familiar with the roadways or other geographic
features. Deputies will suspend and/or turn the pursuit over to the local
jurisdiction.
If the offender is taken into custody, the deputy can file appropriate charges
and leave, or forward the proper paperwork to return the offender to
Miami County. It is suggested that the local prosecutor be contacted
regarding filing of charges as there may be shared responsibilities with the
prosecutors office where the defendant is in custody.

ORIGINAL ADOPTION DATE REVISION NUMBER/DATE APPROVED


/ / # : 1 / 11 /06