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  • Questions Regarding Pursuit of Suspects

    I’ve been listening to my scanner, and a couple of question popped into my mind.

    1) How does jurisdiction work? For example one agency I scan has 1.8 miles of freeway in their city. When there is a DUI, the dispatcher relays the info to the two or three squad cars on duty. By the time they get to the freeway and check to the city limits, the suspect is gone. The call is passed on to the next agency, and the same problem occurs. Eventually the suspect enters a city with a bigger PD and more freeway in their jurisdiction, so the cops have time to grab him.

    My question: Can the squad cars from one agency cross city limits on the freeway and pull the DUI suspect over in another agency’s jurisdiction? It just seems like the way they do it now, passing it from small agency to small agency, takes a long time. IMO, it would make more sense if one squad car chased down the guy and then waited for the local police to show up for the FST’s.

    2) What do you guys do in regards to radio communications with multiple agencies on different frequencies during a pursuit? I heard my suburban PD looking for a suspect involved in a knife incident. One officer seemed particularly motivated to get the suspect. He left the city limits and spotted the vehicle about 3 or 4 miles outside the city down the freeway. He pursues him for about 10 more miles, relaying info to dispatch. During this time, he is the only unit in pursuit (no other agencies were notified as he was just blowing through the city limits on the freeway). Eventually the chase ends up in a big city about 18 miles away from the officer’s jurisdiction. After a while, another agency responds and they get the guy.

    My question: What if something happened to this officer? He was relaying his location, and dispatch was repeating it, but aside from one other unit from the same agency trailing the suspects and the lead officer by about 5 miles, the lead officer was by himself with no communication to other agencies and his fellow officers 15 miles back still in their city.

    I would assume if the officer wrecked, the dispatcher would contact the local authorities by phone, but that seems dangerous given the potential time delay in response. It was especially dangerous as this officer was breaking up on the radio because he was downtown and so far away from his station (This agency doesn’t use repeaters. 14 sq mile city, so there’s really no need).

    Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to explain my questions clearly. Thanks!
    "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr

  • #2
    The answer to your question is it depends on that particular agency's policy. The vast majority of police officers are state peace officers so they can exercise their powers anywhere in the state. There are even agreements between states with bordering states which allow for a pursuit to continue and not have to stop at the state line like the movies would have you believe. In a lot of instances the agreements call for the primary local agency to take the lead in the pursuit when they catch up. This means that the original officer can leave their particular jurisdiction while chasing something and make their arrest outside of it in a lot of cases. If the officer witnessed the criminal act in their jurisdiction and pursues the suspect into another jurisdiction, they are still arresting for something that happened within their area of responsibility. There are also agreements and understandings between nearby agencies that manage how these situations will be handled, again this goes to policy and agreements for those particular departments. As far as backup, most dispatch centers can patch officers from nearby agencies in and in some cases there are regional dispatch centers that several agencies use. So again, it depends.
    Last edited by yellowreef; 03-06-2012, 12:12 PM.
    "You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall... I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it."

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    • #3
      It's different from state to state. However, in my neck of the woods:

      1) We have state wide jurisdiction, and we only physically border with Canada so there are no interstate problems. I can make an arrest anywhere in the state. If some moron wants to barrel into Canada, have fun with that. Canadian laws tend to be very unforgiving and the mounties have no sense of humor when it comes to fugitives. The ones who jump in a boat to Russia generally wish they'd chosen Canada.
      2) In general, dispatchers in Alaska are regional so the same person is dispatching the local PD and the state troopers so there are no radio issues. They are trying to get us on a statewide radio system, my opinion of such I'm going to keep to myself.

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      • #4
        In California all officers have authority anywhere in the state, so there isn't a problem when a pursuit goes from one city to another.

        Communication can be a hit and miss issue. Many agencies operate on regional radio systems that allow them to talk with other agencies and which allow them to travel a considerable distance before they lose contact with their headquarters. We also have two statewide Mutual Aid channels that allow communications between agencies and police vehicles from other departments.

        Nonetheless, California is a large state and there have been times when a pursuit has traveled as much as 200 miles on our freeway system. Once a pursuit gets on the freeway, many agencies simply turn it over to the California Highway Patrol. CHP will then take it to the finish, with fresh Highway Patrol Units taking over each time the chase passes from one CHP service area to another.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          L-1's reply pretty well mirrors the situation in Alabama as well. It should be noted though that there are some jurisdictional differences. In Alabama, a municipal officer has arrest authority in the county his city is located in. A Sheriff's Deputy has jurisdiction is his county. A chase (fresh pursuit) changes all of that, and an officer may chase outside of what would be his normal jurisdictional limits. In many instances, the chase would be turned over to my Agency(Alabama DPS). Once the vehicle is stopped, the driver/occupants could face and usually do, a myriad of charges from the originating agency and DPS as well.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jacob2899 View Post
            My question: Can the squad cars from one agency cross city limits on the freeway and pull the DUI suspect over in another agency’s jurisdiction?

            At both of the Sheriff's Offices I have worked the deputies can (and do) chase you until one of us runs out of gas............................


            Originally posted by Jacob2899 View Post
            2) What do you guys do in regards to radio communications with multiple agencies on different frequencies during a pursuit?
            Interop frequencies.....................
            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
              At both of the Sheriff's Offices I have worked the deputies can (and do) chase you until one of us runs out of gas
              Not to wander too far off, but do your agencies have policies on always keeping a minimum amount in the tank for these situations?
              "Snort-laughter is the best medicine"
              ----- Mussel Bound


              Don't forget to laugh today. The more implausible it seems, the more you need to.

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              • #8
                #1) Yes. I have statewide authority. However, what I can do may or may not please my department. If the vehicle traveled through town then I could and would stop it in another town, but I don't go looking for stuff outside of town unless it's only a couple blocks, or an extremely significant incident.

                #2) There is a statewide band for major pursuits that most officers can access. I also have the ability to listen to and broadcast on neighboring departments radios if needed. My dispatchers or partners can relay information to other jurisdictions by radio or over the phone.

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                • #9
                  #1: Statewide if on "official business" (or fresh pursuit). Like Phillip said, city officers can go countywide if need be. We have a central dispatch for all the small departments, so usually they all know what's going on long before they have to be told.

                  #2: I have most nearby departments on my radio. Interop channels if need be.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the replies. Makes sense to have the lead agency stick with the suspect vehicle.

                    I guess some of this is agency specific. The PDs I scan don't really pursue the DUI suspect because the suspect has already blown through the city limits on the freeway. I never understood why one agency doesn't just leave their city limits and try to at least locate the suspect for the other agency...but I guess it all depends on agency policy.
                    "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr

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                    • #11
                      It's amazing to see state to state differences. I have police powers (arrest, investigation, etc) from city limit sign to city limit sign and 1 mile beyond on all sides. Outside of that, I can not do anything unless I hit the blue lights in jurisdiction and there is a pursuit. In case of pursuit (according to my states law) I can continue the pursuit until I run out of gas, even if it crosses state lines. The pursuit must be continuous. If I stop to eat, for gas, change a tire, etc... it's over. If I'm driving home and I see a murder, I'm acting as a private citizen (which, BTW, has the power to detain the offender of a violent crime in my state).

                      As for the original question... If I'm looking for a DUI driver called in via 911 I stop at the city limits and ask Communications to notify SHP. They have jurisdiction state-wide.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MargeGunderson View Post
                        Not to wander too far off, but do your agencies have policies on always keeping a minimum amount in the tank for these situations?
                        The old one was a big agency.............always plenty of help


                        The new one is a small agency................might have 2 on at one time if we are lucky.........................the deputy would still chase until the wheels fell off.

                        Communications would call out someone if needed
                        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 5whiskey View Post
                          It's amazing to see state to state differences.
                          Having state wide jurisdiction is nice. We can pursue investigations anywhere. The Alaska Supreme Court has even ruled that we have authority on Alaskan ferries in Canadian waters.

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                          • #14
                            Here's how it works in NC. For a city police you have the city limits and one mile beyond. If you start pursuit inside your jurisdiction you can continue pursuit outside, basically you have jurisdiction over that suspect anywhere until the chase concludes. Our policy allows pursuit across state lines but once across state lines the locals have to take over the lead(if available, if not, rock on until someone catches up) but you remain in the pursuit. We cannot start pursuit or any other action outside of our jurisdiction except in extreme circumstances where it would be considered a public safety issue, leaving the city to look for a DWI suspect is a no go.

                            Sheriff's depts have very similar rules with some additional freedom on folks with warrants.

                            Obviously Troopers can go anywhere in the state.

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                            • #15
                              So, the Dukes of Hazard lied to me?

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