OHP Pursuit Policy
OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL
Vehicular Pursuit Operation
|Effective Date 04/15/14
||Date Revised 02/01/20
|Related Forms or Directives:
||This General Order shall be included in the initial issuance of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Operations Manual (2014 version) and shall so remain unless it is deleted, modified or replaced by proper authority.
The purpose of this policy is to establish regulations for making decisions with regard to vehicular pursuit operations.
- Authorized Emergency Vehicle: For purposes of this policy, an authorized emergency vehicle is a vehicle equipped with sirens capable of giving audible signals as required by the provisions of Section 12-218 of title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes and flashing red lights as authorized by the provisions of Section 12-218 of title 47. [Ref. 47 O.S. § 1-103]
- Vehicular pursuit: An active attempt by an officer in an authorized emergency vehicle to apprehend a fleeing suspect who is actively attempting to elude law enforcement.
- Pursuit unit: A law enforcement vehicle engaged in a vehicular pursuit as a primary unit and/or secondary unit(s).
- Primary unit: The primary unit is the leading law enforcement vehicle in the vehicular pursuit immediately behind the suspect vehicle.
- Secondary units: Any law enforcement vehicle(s) involved as a backup to the primary unit.
- Support Units: Any law enforcement vehicle(s) providing assistance during vehicular pursuit operations that are not directly involved in, and are not following, behind the primary and secondary units in the vehicular pursuit.
- Caravanning: The use of more than four (4) pursuit units in a vehicular pursuit.
- Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI): Tactical Vehicle Intervention is the use of a pursuit unit as a "use of force option". When properly performed, TVI is a controlled maneuver intended to safely end a vehicular pursuit and, in doing so; minimize the risk of injury to the public, the member, and the suspect. TVI is not vehicle weaponry or ramming. All tactical vehicle interventions shall be reported and reviewed as a use of force.
- Pinning: Pinning is the intentional use of a law enforcement vehicle(s) to block the escape of the suspect vehicle.
- Ramming: Ramming is the intentional use of a law enforcement vehicle(s) against another vehicle or object in order to stop an imminent threat of harm to the member or another person and shall not be used unless the member believes deadly force is necessary.
- Roadblocks: A roadblock is the partial or complete blockade of a vehicle to prevent escape.
Vehicular pursuit of fleeing suspects can present a danger to the lives of the public, members, and suspects involved in the vehicular pursuit. It is the responsibility of the Patrol to assist members in the safe performance of their duties. Any decision to pursue or continue a pursuit involves striking a balance between law enforcement effectiveness and the risk of injury to the public. It shall be the policy of this agency to regulate the manner in which vehicular pursuits are undertaken and performed in order to promote the safety of all persons and the effective use of Department resources. All pursuits will be reported by the member and reviewed by an OHP Supervisor or higher rank and will be subject to an administrative review.
- Oklahoma Law
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has adopted “reckless disregard for the safety of others” as the duty of care an emergency vehicle driver owes to the public while operating pursuant to section 11–106 of title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes (Ref. State ex rel. Oklahoma Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Gurich, 2010 OK 56, 238 P.3d 1).
- The member shall activate and ensure function of emergency and in-car video recording equipment. Non-working equipment shall be reported to the communication center immediately.
- The member initiating the vehicular pursuit shall immediately notify communications personnel a vehicular pursuit is underway and should provide the following information, if available.
- reason for vehicular pursuit, i.e.; traffic offense which instigated the vehicular pursuit, known wanted person in vehicle, stolen vehicle, etc.
- any weaponry involved,
- whether it is a vehicular pursuit or a failure to yield to red light and siren (slow pursuit),
- location and direction of travel,
- vehicle description (make, model, approximate year, color and license plate number),
- Driver, number of occupant(s), any descriptors, and any identification, if known,
- brief description of subject’s driving behavior, i.e.; speed of violator, what degree of respect for other traffic (little, none or attempting to strike other persons or objects),
- environmental factors such as weather conditions, traffic, pedestrians or any other relative factor.
- Any pursuit unit sustaining damage that could compromise safe operation of the vehicle or experiencing failure of essential vehicular equipment during the vehicular pursuit shall discontinue participation in the vehicular pursuit. The member shall notify communications so another unit may be assigned to the vehicular pursuit.
- Felony vehicle stop protocols shall be used at the conclusion of every pursuit.
- Members shall not become involved in vehicular pursuits when transporting non-commissioned passengers, or prisoners in the patrol vehicle.
- Initiation of Vehicular Pursuits – Members are authorized to initiate vehicular pursuits when:
- the suspect exhibits the intent to avoid arrest by using a vehicle to flee apprehension for an alleged criminal offense,
- the suspect operating the vehicle refuses to stop at the direction of the member.
- Vehicular Pursuit Operations – Members shall carefully compare the seriousness of the violation to the hazards of a vehicular pursuit and shall carefully and continually consider the danger to themselves and the public in determining whether to attempt or continue involvement in a vehicular pursuit.
- Environmental factors – Members shall consider the environmental factors in determining whether to initiate or continue a vehicular pursuit.
- Members shall not become or remain involved in a vehicular pursuit when their effectiveness or safety is limited by the following factors:
- the performance capabilities of the Patrol vehicle;
- the condition and character of the road surface on which the vehicular pursuit is being conducted;
- the amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area;
- the member’s location relative to the distance from the vehicular pursuit and its direction of travel;
- the number of law enforcement vehicles directly involved in the vehicular pursuit is already four (4) or more law enforcement vehicles from any agency;
- the weather conditions;
- the speed involved; and
- the training and driving ability of the member.
- Evaluation – Members shall continually reevaluate the environmental factors over the course of a pursuit as the situation may change and render the pursuit unnecessarily unsafe.
- Passing – Members involved in a vehicular pursuit shall not pass any other law enforcement vehicles unless valid articulable circumstances exist at that moment.
- Lane use – Members shall not pursue the suspect vehicle the wrong way in opposing lanes of traffic on a highway, street, roadway or interstate or turnpike of four or more lanes of traffic while in pursuit of a suspect vehicle.
- Caravanning – Unless expressly authorized by a supervisor, the vehicular pursuit shall be limited to the primary and up to (3) three secondary units.
- Members involved in blocking intersections, deploying stop sticks, or other indirect activities related to the vehicular pursuit will not be considered as pursuit units.
- Discontinuation of Vehicular Pursuits – The decision to discontinue or cease vehicular pursuit operations without further intervention may be the most rational means of preserving the lives and property of the public, the member, and the suspect. Vehicular pursuits may be discontinued by the member operating the primary unit or any Patrol supervisory personnel.
- Vehicular pursuit shall be immediately discontinued in any of the following circumstances:
- when directed by supervisory personnel to discontinue pursuit;
- the danger posed by continued vehicular pursuit to the public, the members, or the suspect(s) is greater than the value of apprehending the suspect(s) based on the known offense(s);
- When pursuing a motorcycle where a passenger is present on the motorcycle unless otherwise directed.
- the distance between the vehicular pursuit and fleeing vehicle is so great that further vehicular pursuit is futile; or
- circumstances related to sections of this order involving Multi-Agency Vehicular Pursuits and Pursuit across State Lines.
- When a pursuit comes under surveillance of a law enforcement aircraft the members shall, unless otherwise directed, reduce their response speed and may follow the suspect vehicle’s predicted route or travel at routine patrol speeds with emergency equipment deactivated.
- Members shall immediately notify communications personnel when a vehicular pursuit is discontinued and provide any further information acquired which may assist in an arrest at a later date.
- Vehicle Use of Force
- Tactical Vehicle Intervention
- Members may implement Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI) as a use of force option, to bring a pursuit to a conclusion.
- Members shall consider the traffic and roadway conditions, as well as the speed of the pursued vehicle and risk to the public prior to performing the maneuver. Members using TVI shall do so in a manner consistent with their training and not in a manner that would constitute a ramming or uncontrolled collision.
- Members shall not implement TVI solely at the request of another agency. The decision to use TVI shall be based on the member’s own observations of the suspect’s actions and whether those actions justify force.
- A TVI shall not be performed when the suspect vehicle is in an area where a TVI maneuver may create an immediate threat to other civilian traffic.
- A TVI shall not be performed on a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, motorized cart, truck tractor or any vehicle towing a trailer.
- Pursuit roadblocks – The following guidelines shall be met when establishing a pursuit roadblock:
- Activate all visual emergency equipment.
- Select vehicles which are clearly marked as law enforcement vehicles. Motorcycles shall not be used in pursuit roadblock situations.
- Position selected vehicles in such a way that they are clearly visible and part of a roadblock.
- If setting up a night roadblock, light up the roadway without blinding the suspect or pursuing vehicles as much as possible.
- The purpose of these standards is to give the suspect both time and distance to decide on options which may include surrendering or running the roadblock.
- Placement of roadblocks – The best location would obviously be one where the road is narrowed down by a bridge, culvert, etc. Avoid placing the road block at a location where the suspect has an alternative route.
- Select a location for a roadblock which provides as long a visual path as possible.
- Select a location that will enable a motorist to see the Patrol vehicle, cones, flares, or fusees in time to stop.
- Do not set up a roadblock immediately over the crest of a hill or behind a sharp curve.
- Actual placement of the vehicles will vary according to location and situation.
- Whatever placement is utilized, consideration must always be given to officer safety, availability of communications equipment and visibility to on-coming traffic.
- Members may establish roadblocks for a variety of reasons. Roadblocks shall not be used when it is apparent citizens or other officers could be placed in unnecessary danger. Extreme caution must be exercised when utilizing roadblocks because of the obvious dangers inherent to high speed vehicular pursuits.
- Types of Roadblocks – As with any use of force, pursuit roadblocks should, when practical, progress from the use of tire deflation devices (low risk) up through the force continuum to full block (high risk) if necessary. The following are types of pursuit roadblocks.
- Tire deflation devices – Tire deflation devices can be used either singularly or in conjunction with road blocks.
- Tire deflation devices shall not be used on vehicles with less than four (4) tires unless circumstances make it necessary to utilize deadly force to stop the immediate threat.
- Partial road block – Partial blocking of a roadway with a law enforcement vehicle(s) that will allow the pursued vehicle a clear avenue to pass, so as to give the suspect the option of stopping or bypassing the road block.
- Rolling road block – Practice of using moving law enforcement vehicle(s) to block or box in a moving suspect vehicle. The use of a rolling road block in a vehicular pursuit is strongly discouraged and shall not be attempted at high speeds.
- Full road block – Total blocking of a roadway, leaving no path of escape.
- Full road blocks shall not be used unless circumstances make it necessary to utilize deadly force to stop the immediate threat, only after considering the risk to the occupants of the vehicle and their involvement in a crime.
- Ramming – Ramming shall not be used unless circumstances make it necessary to utilize deadly force to stop the immediate threat, only after considering the risk to the occupants of the vehicle and their involvement in a crime.
- Pinning – The pinning of a vehicle does not constitute TVI or ramming provided the pinning maneuver is deliberately performed at a slow speed with the intent to pin a vehicle to prevent escape.
- Multi-Agency Vehicular Pursuits – The policy governing OHP assistance with vehicular pursuits that have been initiated by another law enforcement agency is not intended to circumvent any other agency's policies or guidelines. OHP may, with OHP supervisor approval, assist with vehicular pursuits, upon request, while allowing the originating agency oversight and control over their own pursuits in accordance with that agency's own controlling local ordinances, policies, and/or other governing authorities.
- Members shall not join vehicular pursuits initiated by another law enforcement agency unless specifically requested to do so by the initiating agency.
- Such requests may be received directly from an officer of the initiating agency or indirectly through affected communication centers.
- Mere notification of the existence of a vehicular pursuit shall not be construed as a request for OHP assistance.
- Members may assist the initiating agency by joining the vehicular pursuit as a secondary unit only when approved by an OHP supervisor. Nothing in this policy shall prevent a member from responding and assisting as a secondary or support unit in a pursuit where a single law enforcement officer is without backup until a supervisor can be notified.
- Members shall not assume the role of primary unit or take over any vehicular pursuits initiated by another law enforcement agency unless first approved by OHP supervisory personnel.
- At any time during a vehicular pursuit, supervising personnel may order the vehicular pursuit be discontinued. All members involved in the vehicular pursuit shall immediately discontinue their involvement regardless of the situation, deactivate all emergency equipment, cease involvement in the incident, notify communications and allow the video camera to document disengagement for at least one (1) minute.
- Pursuit across State Lines
- When a person wanted for a misdemeanor flees to and crosses the state line, any member(s) in vehicular pursuit of such person shall discontinue the vehicular pursuit at that point and notify appropriate agencies.
- A member is authorized to continue the vehicular pursuit into another state when a member is in fresh vehicular pursuit of a person who has committed a felony, or who the member has probable cause to believe has committed a felony. The underlying felony offense described above cannot be the current pursuit itself (felony eluding). Once an agency with jurisdiction takes over, the member is to become a support unit and follow the vehicular pursuit until its termination and/or discontinuation. Members shall exercise reasonable discretion and good judgment in determining the level of response (to include the option of proceeding to the termination and/or discontinuation point at normal speeds). If the member apprehends the person, the member shall take the person immediately and without unnecessary delay before a magistrate in the county in which the arrest was made.
- Primary Unit’s Responsibility – The primary unit shall:
- Keep headquarters updated as to change of location/direction, speed of pursued vehicle, and any other pertinent information unless a secondary unit arrives who will then assume radio responsibility from the primary unit.
- Reduce or discontinue the level of vehicular pursuit when:
- another unit has been assigned as the primary unit, or
- directed to reduce or discontinue pursuit by a patrol supervisor.
- Provide the appropriate pursuit report to the investigating supervisor within the same reporting period.
- Secondary Unit’s Responsibility – The secondary unit(s) shall keep headquarters updated as to change of location/direction, speed of pursued vehicle, and any other pertinent information. The secondary unit shall provide the appropriate pursuit report to the investigating supervisor within the same reporting period.
- Supervisor's Responsibility – The supervisor or commanding officer shall:
- Monitor and evaluate the vehicular pursuit to determine if continuation is necessary. The supervisor or commanding officer may order the discontinuance of any vehicular pursuit or other involvement by OHP personnel. During multi-agency vehicular pursuits this allows the initiating agency to operate within their scope of involvement and authority and ensures the safety of OHP personnel and the public.
- Coordinate the use of pursuit units to prevent caravanning, and discontinue other units when caravanning is evident.
- Respond immediately to the scene where the vehicular pursuit was concluded by use of force and investigate any incident of Tactical Vehicle Intervention, ramming, unit collision, or other use of force and report the findings from the investigation through the chain of command to the appropriate authority.
- Collect and review pursuit reports and submit through the chain of command to the Zone Commander.
- Command Staff Responsibilities – The appropriate command staff member shall:
- For any pursuit, TVI incident, or ramming incident:
- close as justified and consistent with policy; or
- request a Chiefs Review Board; or
- take any disciplinary action administered according to OHP disciplinary matrix.
- Communication Center Responsibilities – The communications officer first advised of the vehicular pursuit shall:
- Assist with coordination of pursuit units; and
- Immediately contact an OHP supervisor or commanding officer.
- Prompt pursuing members, when feasible, for appropriate information concerning the pursuit including traffic, weather, direction of travel, streets and any other evaluating factor to assist other law enforcement officers.
- Review of Pursuits – A Chief’s Review Board may be convened by the Chief’s Office to review all facts and circumstances surrounding a vehicular pursuit and make recommendations concerning whether the pursuit was justified to continue and any accompanying corrective action.
END OF POLICY
Last Modified on 05/13/2020