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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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0630.10, Driving Responses

630.10, Driving Responses


  • ORS § 801.260, Definition of emergency vehicle
  • ORS § 811.155, Failure to stop for bus safety lights
  • ORS § 820.300, Exemptions from traffic laws
  • ORS § 820.320, Illegal operation of emergency vehicle
  • Directive 630.05, Vehicle Pursuits


  • Emergency Vehicle: A police vehicle that is equipped with lights and sirens. ORS § 801.260.


  1. Emergency Vehicles: Statutory Exemptions from Traffic Law

1.1.   Per ORS § 820.300, members driving an emergency vehicle may do any of the following:

1.1.1.      Park or stand in disregard of a statute, regulation or ordinance prohibiting that parking or standing.

1.1.2.      Proceed past a red signal or stop sign.

1.1.3.      Exceed the designated speed limits.

1.1.4.      Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

1.1.5.      Proceed past the flashing bus safety lights without violating ORS § 811.155, if the driver first stops the vehicle then proceeds only when the driver:            Determines that no passengers of the bus remain on the roadway, and            Proceeds with caution.

1.2.   Provisions of this section:

1.2.1.      Do not relieve the member driving an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all other persons.

1.2.2.      Are not defenses to the member driving of an emergency vehicle in an action brought for criminal negligence or reckless conduct.

1.3.   Per ORS § 820.320, exemptions from traffic laws are conditioned. Members driving an emergency vehicle:

1.3.1.      May only exercise privileges when responding to an emergency or when in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.

1.3.2.      Must use a visual signal with appropriate warning lights.            Visual signals are not required when it reasonably appears to the member that use would prevent or hamper the apprehension or detection of a violator of the law.

1.3.3.      Must make use of an audible signal when the member is proceeding past a stop light or stop sign.            Audible signals are not required when parking or standing an emergency vehicle in disregard of a statute, regulation or ordinance prohibiting parking or standing.            Audible signals are not required when it reasonably appears to the member that use would prevent or hamper the apprehension or detection of a violator of the law.

1.3.4.      Must slow down as necessary for safe operation in proceeding past any stop light or stop sign.

1.3.5.      Must not exceed any designated speed limit to an extent which endangers persons or property.

2. Driving Codes:

2.1.   Code 1 response is a prompt, safe response to routine calls (e.g., cold crimes, non-injury accidents, missing persons, administrative calls, etc.) without the use of emergency lights or siren while obeying all traffic laws and ordinances. Responses to requests for service will be Code 1, unless the situation dictates otherwise.

2.2.   Code 2 response is used for situations requiring immediate attention (e.g., silent or audible alarms, crimes just occurred, sick or injured persons, prowlers, incomplete calls, etc.), and requires the use of emergency lights and may be augmented by the use of horn or siren to facilitate the safe passage of the police vehicle through traffic. Code 2 requires a complete stop at all stop signs and red lights before proceeding. State statute requires an audible signal while proceeding through a red light.

2.3.   Code 3 responses require the continuous use of emergency lights, siren and is used for critical situations demanding emergency response (e.g., person’s life in danger, crime in progress, crime with suspects present, etc.).

2.4.   Code 0 response is used when a member’s life or safety is in peril and immediate assistance is required. Continuous use of lights and siren is required.

3. Driving Code: Member Responsibilities

3.1.   Seat Belts: Members operating official vehicles equipped with operable safety belts and passengers authorized to ride in the vehicle are required to wear such belts at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Failure to wear safety belts may result in civil liability claims against the Bureau and/or disciplinary action against the member.  

3.2.   Police escort is a police vehicle preceding or following a non-police vehicle to ensure its safety. No member will provide any type of police escort unless specifically authorized by the Chief of Police or designee (e.g., presidential motorcades, parades, etc.)

3.3.   When driving Code 0, the four (4) closest units will be dispatched to the scene, with additional units responding until cover is not required. The first member on scene able to make a determination will notify the dispatcher of the exact nature of the problem, whether or not additional assistance is required and when additional cover is not required.

4. Driving Code: Supervisor Responsibilities

4.1.   A supervisor will respond to a call for Code 0. Upon arrival, the supervisor will assess the scene and manage next steps.


  • Originating Directive Effective: 09/06/01
  • First Revision Effective: 11/2/15
  • Next Review Date: 11/2/17
  • Review By: Training Division