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Different agencies and the ranking officer on the scene ?


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  • Different agencies and the ranking officer on the scene ?

    This question is regarding the City of Los Angeles but of course it would be interesting to hear examples from elsewhere in the US.

    If an incident occurs in an area of the city where both the CHP & the LAPD attends, would a CHP officer be legally obliged to follow the orders of an LAPD sergeant as he would from a CHP sergeant ? Or does the recognition of rank between agencies only extend to professional courtesy and not a legal obligation to follow an order from a higher rank of the other agency ?

  • #2
    It depends on the type of incident and who has investigative authority and responsibilty for the incident. As a rule, all officers from all agencies respect the ranks of other agencies. A supervisor is a supervisor! Most of the time, agency supervisors supervise personnel from their own agency and there have been times of contention, but the disagreements are minimal and not carried on to higher ranks.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


    • #3
      Unlike many countries that have a National police force, the U.S. has a variety of agencies frequently working within the same geographical area.
      To answer your question---- In Phoenix,Az. (you know "Sheriff Joe" & all that), Phx PD is responsible for crimes comitted within the City and MAY enforce laws on the highways within the City although that's not our primary responsibility. That's up to the Dept. of Public Safety aka Highway Patrol or State Police. This is not to be confused with a Sheriff's Dept. whose responsibility is anywhere within a County (in this case, Maricopa) and they may enforce laws anyway although they usually work in the unincorporated parts of the County or in towns too small for their own PD or as an adjunct to small Depts.
      Now to get specific, the on-scene supervisor is generally in charge until units primarily responsible for the reporting of the crime arrive to assume the investigation. If a City PD supervisor orders a State Police officer to do something & it's "his" crime scene, it's usually obeyed. If there are issues with the order, it can be addressed through the chain-of-command later unless it's an illegal order, in which case he's not obligated to obey it. This would hold true if two Patrolmen from different agencies are on scene, too.
      These types of issues come up when there's a question of jurisdiction but here in Phoenix, we have a written policy that if there is a question jurisdiction or how it would appear in the media a Phx officer is required to take the report.


      • #4
        Just to add to what SgtCHP said.

        In order to avoid conflicts, CHP has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with every local law enforcement agency in the state that has pre-determined which of the two departments will handle a particular type of incident in matters of overlapping jurisdiction. If handling the incident is the local agency's responsibility, CHP will usually turn the matter over to them and leave, or simply provide perimeter traffic and crowd control if requested to do so.

        When it comes to serious tactical issues, supervisors generally shy away from mixing personnel with those from an outside agency. Sometimes different agencies employ totally conflicting tactical procedures. Often their use of force training may be different and because their radios are on different frequencies, coordination and timing of efforts can be impractical.

        In short, situations such as you have described rarely occur.

        Sometimes one law enforcement agency will request mutual aid from another agency. When that happens, the requesting department simply explains what it is they need done. If it is within acceptable policy, the assisting agency performs the act according to their standards and under their own supervision.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


        • #5
          Many thanks


          • #6
            Recently the County began a vehicle chase in the county. The highway patrol joined in and then entered the city. Our agency kept perimeter until they crashed in the projects. Four ran. Two were caught by my agency. The county took their prisoners for processing on their charges, my agency did the wreck report and the damage to property and the Highway Patrol cleared the scene.

            As for who ran the scene at the time. We did. It ended in my jurisdiction. The car belonged to them, even though it wrecked in our area...it was theirs because it itself ended up being a crime scene. I have seen multi-agency calls end up being peeing matches, but IMHO that's a result of those in charge and not those of us actually doing the work.

            I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.


            • #7
              Depends. If I'm on a scene in my city and the Lt. from the neighboring city shows up and starts ordering me around, i'll tell him to beat feet and get off my scene.

              If it's something in his city that I'm going to assist with, i'll take his direction unless my direct supervisor orders me otherwise (i.e. the Lt. from the other agency orders me one place, while my supervisor is telling me to return to my AOR).

              If it's a scene where many agencies are involved, the ranking officer from that agency iwith jurisdictional authority over that area is in charge.

              I've only ever had issue with a multi-agency scene one time. I initiated a vehicle pursuit which left my city limits and terminated in the county, with units from my city, the sheriff's office and state police involved. The Captain from a po-dunk, 10 man department about 2 miles down the road showed up and began barking orders as if he were the Commandant of the entire Police Profession. After about 2 minutes of him ordering everyone around and overturning direction from my Lt (who was also on the scene), he began telling me to take the suspect to the hospital and what not (things i'd already began the process of accomplishing). He was quickly reminded that my police car did not have the name of his town on it, that I was not one of his officers, that his presence at the scene was neither necessary nor welcome and if he didn't have anything productive to do, he could return to his city. He tucked tail, got back in his car and went back to his city. He complained about my "insubordination" to my chief, who went to my Lt., who told the chief what had taken place. The chief called the captain back and told him that i had acted appropriately and to drop it.

              So yea, disagreements happen, MOST of us are mature enough to work through them and still get the job done.
              Originally posted by K40
              To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
              ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn


              • #8
                Oddly had this happen recently enough. The originating city of the crime took the incident command. However the chase that ensued ended next to the Sheriff's Office. They assisted, State Assisted, and I assisted. All in all good communication and we all worked together.


                • #9
                  My Force is the Provincial Police (kind-of-like State Police, sort of!) and we have Federal Statute (full drugs plus partial customs, immigration, copyright, excise and tax), Criminal Code (range of criminal laws) and Provincial Statute (traffic, liquor and hunting / fishing) throughout the Province, and Municipal By-Law only where we have the contract to provide such service.

                  Municipal Police here have FS (full drug and VERY limited other), CC (full) and PS (all) authority throughout the Province, and Mun BL authority for their Agency's municipality.

                  Policy states that if my Force starts a pursuit outside an Mun PS' area that then goes into a Mun PS' area, we are to call that Mun PS to take the lead on the pursuit, and vice-a-versa for the Mun PS. Usually the initiating Agency lays ALL charges against the "client(s)", while the Agency in whose area the pursuit terminated deals with any collision investigation.

                  As far as one Agency showing up in the other Agency's area to assist with an emergency, the assisting Agency's members will take direction from the investigating Agency's lead investigator or supervisor, or the inverstigating Agency's lead investigator and / or supervisor will confer with the assisting Agency's senior member on scene to develop a joint action plan/

                  Not a lot of Concours de Urination around here - if anything, it is a case of if a scene is on a border, or just beyond same, the Agencies will argue to NOT have to take on the investigation and pass same off to the other!
                  #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                  Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                  RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                  Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                  "Smile" - no!


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