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Pursuit Traffic Enforcement Responsibility?

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  • Pursuit Traffic Enforcement Responsibility?

    Just wondering if vehicle pursuits are the responsibility of the traffic enforcement division or just the patrol division. Obviously this only really applies to medium or large departments, and if there is a traffic enforcement unit free, but surely traffic enforcement would be the primary division to deal with pursuits right?


    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Jurisdictions that have a traffic division, the traffic division probably gets into the most pursuits because they are trying to contact people already in cars... but anybody might get into one. Most departments have policies which require unmarked cars or plainclothes officers to turn the pursuit over to a marked/ uniformed unit as soon as possible... but whoever is trying to make the contact initiates the pursuit.

    Keep in mind that MOST jurisdictions have incredibly restrictive pursuit policies. Nobody is chasing for a traffic infraction. My department's policy, recently modified, was that we literally had to be shot at to pursue... not a felony murder warrant, not shot at his wife in a DV... not shot at officers of another department. They had to shoot at members of our department for us to chase.

    Now our policy is that if the underlying crime justified the use of deadly force, we can chase... but we've even avoided that. We had a murder suspect run from us 3 times over a week, but never chased him. Finally got him bottled up at his house and SWAT got him to come out.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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    • #3
      In my state, I've never known a police department to limit participation in a pursuit to traffic units rather than patrol. Many will limit the use of motors in a pursuit if automobiles are available because motors can crash and get run over more easily.

      It should be noted that if a pursuit goes up on the freeway, many local agencies will turn the chase over to the highway patrol, primarily because CHP has statewide resources and communication systems that enable them to take the pursuit anywhere. When that occurs, CHP will only involve themselves if the other agencies completely drop out of the pursuit. They do this for three reasons. First, different agencies are usually on different radio frequencies and there is no way to coordinate pursuit activities. Next, different agencies usually have different pursuit policies. It is a complex legal issue, but if someone gets hurt because because Agency A engaged in a tactic authorized by their department but which violates Agency B's policy, Agency B may become civilly liable. Lastly, when two agencies are involved there becomes a question of which one is in charge of the pursuit and (again) whose pursuit policies will prevail. This is not an ego thing but a legal issue that will rear its ugly head civilly in court if someone is hurt or killed in the pursuit and Plaintiffs go looking for deep pockets.
      .
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        Our traffic unit, which mostly gets around on motor units, are prohibited from pursuing on their motor units per our policy. Our detectives are also prohibited from pursuing because they don't operate marked police units per policy. Our detectives got a bunch of Dodge Avengers, and they only outfitted them with police radios - no lights, sirens or spotlights. Also, I was in a department with about 200 officers.

        Our pursuit and emergency response policy, like I'm pretty sure most other departments, got more restrictive as time went by. It finally got down to that we could only respond code 2 or code 3 at 10 mph over the posted speed limit in good conditions. We were freaked when it went from unlimited down to 15 over the posted speed limit. We were pretty loose with the 15 over, but around the time the 10 mph policy came out, our units had GPS so no more loosey-goosey.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by angeredmgmt View Post
          Our traffic unit, which mostly gets around on motor units, are prohibited from pursuing on their motor units per our policy. Our detectives are also prohibited from pursuing because they don't operate marked police units per policy. Our detectives got a bunch of Dodge Avengers, and they only outfitted them with police radios - no lights, sirens or spotlights. Also, I was in a department with about 200 officers.

          Our pursuit and emergency response policy, like I'm pretty sure most other departments, got more restrictive as time went by. It finally got down to that we could only respond code 2 or code 3 at 10 mph over the posted speed limit in good conditions. We were freaked when it went from unlimited down to 15 over the posted speed limit. We were pretty loose with the 15 over, but around the time the 10 mph policy came out, our units had GPS so no more loosey-goosey.
          That sucks. Our policy says we can go as fast as we can control our squads along with traffic/road conditions. During a murder pursuit and officer went 80mph on residential streets at midnight and during a hijacking pursuit another officer was traveling at 120mph on the highway at 10pm. Both clear dry nights. We've since had a change of administration and though the same policy is in effect, I doubt they would have allowed them to go on today.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by scotty_appleton814 View Post

            That sucks. Our policy says we can go as fast as we can control our squads along with traffic/road conditions. During a murder pursuit and officer went 80mph on residential streets at midnight and during a hijacking pursuit another officer was traveling at 120mph on the highway at 10pm. Both clear dry nights. We've since had a change of administration and though the same policy is in effect, I doubt they would have allowed them to go on today.
            That 10 mph over is only or responding, but there is no max speed limit for pursuits. Even so, our pursuit parameters were tightened so much that they were almost not worth it. I've been retired 5 years now, and I wouldn't doubt pursuit/emergency response policy has even become more restrictive. Also, our civilian assistant to our department head LOVES to crack officer skulls so it isn't uncommon for him to review dash cam videos and GPS logs so being loosey goosey with policy is no longer an option.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by angeredmgmt View Post

              That 10 mph over is only or responding, but there is no max speed limit for pursuits. Even so, our pursuit parameters were tightened so much that they were almost not worth it. I've been retired 5 years now, and I wouldn't doubt pursuit/emergency response policy has even become more restrictive. Also, our civilian assistant to our department head LOVES to crack officer skulls so it isn't uncommon for him to review dash cam videos and GPS logs so being loosey goosey with policy is no longer an option.
              Sad the level of internal political BS we have to work under.

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              • #8
                Pursuits?
                I just follow them until they stop.

                My current department probably has the least restrictive pursuit policy but they still prefer us not to chase.

                But as to the OP's question the above answers are mostly the standard. A few counties where I live will chase about every one that runs. Doesn't matter if they are working patrol, traffic or whatever. They normally don't want unmarked cars involved but if they do get in one, the marked cars take over the pursuit.

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                • #9
                  I’ve seen a fire marshal get in a pursuit. It can happen to anybody.
                  "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                  "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    With the agency I retired from, vehicle pursuits are only allowed for officers using marked patrol CARS. No motorcycles, no SUVs, pickups, or anything else.

                    And we had a VERY restrictive and complex pursuit policy that was obviously designed for the sole purpose of preventing liability from climbing the chain of command. It was almost impossible to pursue, without violating some part of it, thus allowing them to hang an officer out to dry. By the end of my career, I just about had to be told to pursue- it just wasn't worth the risk to my career, knowing that the brass absolutely did not have our backs.

                    But if a brother or sister officer called for help, all bets were off. I've done a 4-wheel drift at 135 mph in one of the Holden/Chevy 9C1 cars, late at night on an empty highway, on my way to a gunfight involving my brothers...

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                    • #11
                      But if a brother or sister officer called for help, all bets were off.
                      Our pursuit policy is expressly not a response policy.
                      "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                      "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                      Comment

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