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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

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

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0630.15 Foot Pursuits


 *This directive is currently under review*


  • ORS 131.615  Stopping of Persons
  • DIR 600.00  Use of Aircraft
  • DIR 630.05  Vehicle Pursuits
  • DIR 720.00  SERT and HNT Use


POLICY (630.15)

The Bureau has the duty and responsibility to pursue and apprehend offenders. Foot pursuits must be conducted in such a way so as to minimize the risks to sworn members and citizens.

Foot Pursuits in General (630.15)

Foot pursuits are inherently dangerous police actions. It is the policy of the Bureau that the safety of sworn members and the public shall be the overriding consideration in determining whether a foot pursuit will be initiated or continued. Foot pursuits occur in a wide variety of circumstances. Therefore, this policy is intended as a general guideline for sworn members when deciding if such pursuits are warranted and how they should be conducted.

PROCEDURE (630.15)

Directive Specific Definitions

Foot pursuit: A pursuit on foot by a sworn member(s) where visual contact is maintained, and the suspect is readily capable of being apprehended by the pursuing sworn member(s).

a.  A foot pursuit should end when the sworn member(s) loses visual contact with the suspect for more than a brief period of time (1-2 seconds), and a tactical apprehension should begin.

b.  Sworn members can re-engage in a foot pursuit when he/she regains visual contact of the suspect and the suspect is readily capable of being apprehended.

Tactical apprehension strategies for the search and apprehension of the suspect could be accomplished by:

a.  Sworn member follows and maintains constant visual contact while waiting for additional resources for apprehension.

b.  Perimeter search.

c.  Block search.

d.  Cover/contact search.

e.  K9 track.

f.   Air Support Unit.

g.  Activation of SERT.

Deciding Whether to Pursue (630.15)

A sworn member has the authority to stop any person reasonably suspected of having committed or is about to commit a crime, violation or traffic violation. While it is the sworn member who initiates the stop, it is the suspect who initiates the foot pursuit by fleeing. The decision to pursue should be made with an awareness of the degree of risk to which the sworn member exposes himself/herself and others.

No sworn member shall be criticized for deciding against initiating, discontinuing his/her involvement in or terminating a foot pursuit.

Foot pursuits and tactical apprehensions present certain inherent risks, yet both are an important law enforcement tool. The principles outlined below should be considered when initiating, continuing or terminating a foot pursuit or tactical apprehension.

Factors to Consider When Initiating/Continuing a Foot Pursuit (630.15)

a.  Whether the suspect is believed to be or known to be armed.

b.  Suspect’s behaviors:

1.  Looking back may be an indication the suspect is targeting or “sizing up” a pursuing sworn member.

2.  Change in stride or pace or efforts to draw a sworn member in or allow a sworn member to close may indicate the suspect is preparing for an attack.

3.  Hand and shoulder movement is an indicator the suspect may be reaching into the waistband or other threat areas.

4.  Holding an area of clothing to keep a weapon from falling out.

c.  Conditions:

1.  Locations:

a)  Residential.

b)  Commercial.

c)  Roadways.

d)  Schools.

e)  Wooded or isolated areas.

2.  Environmental factors: Weather or darkness.

3.  Communications.

4.  Availability and proximity of cover units.

d.  Sworn member’s characteristics:

1.  Physical conditioning and abilities.

2.  Familiarity with the area.

Sworn Member Responsibilities (630.15)

a.  Once the foot pursuit has been initiated, the pursuing sworn member should notify BOEC and attempt to broadcast the following information:

1.  The suspect’s direction of travel.

2.  Whether the suspect is armed, if known.

3.  Number of fleeing suspects.

4.  The reason for the pursuit.

5.  If  known, the identification of the suspect, or a physical description.

b.  Generally, the pursuing sworn member should not attempt to overtake the fleeing suspect but keep the suspect in sight until sufficient cover is available to take him/her into custody. The following are techniques to consider:

1.  Following and maintaining a safe distance.

2.  Paralleling the suspect.

3.  Cover/contact pursuits (two sworn members).

4.  Following a different route than the suspect (i.e., wide corners).

5.  Using available cover (i.e., parked cars).

c.  The primary sworn member should attempt to immediately coordinate with secondary sworn members to establish a perimeter in the area to contain the suspect. Secondary sworn members may assist with the coordination if the primary sworn member is unable to do so.

d.  Complete all applicable reports needed to document the incident.

Foot Pursuit Restrictions (630.15)

a.  The pursuing sworn member, if appropriate, will attempt tactical apprehension strategies. Sworn members will not engage in or continue in a foot pursuit when instructed not to by a supervisor. Sworn members should not engage in or continue foot pursuits in the following circumstances:

1.  Armed suspects unless, in extreme circumstances, no other alternative strategy is feasible and a delay in the apprehension of the suspect would present a threat of death or serious physical injury to others.

2.  In the event that a suspect enters a building, structure, wooded area or otherwise isolated area sworn members, unless in extreme circumstances, will not pursue suspects into these areas without sufficient cover present.

3.  If the sworn member believes that the danger to the pursuing sworn member or the public outweighs the necessity for immediate apprehension.

4.  If the sworn member is disarmed.

5.  If the sworn member loses contact with BOEC and no other means of communication exists.

6.  If the sworn member loses visual contact of the suspect(s) for more than a brief period of time (1-2 seconds).

7.  The sworn member is not familiar with and is unable to communicate the direction of travel or location sufficient enough for other sworn members to assist.

8.  The sworn member is unsure of his/her location.

9.  If instructed to do so by a supervisor.

RESPONSIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND CONTROL (630.15) Supervisor Responsibilities

a.  Respond to the location and continually manage the pursuit.

b.  Ensure the perimeter is set up appropriately.

c.  Consider the tactical apprehension strategies.

d.  Terminate pursuits that are not in compliance with this policy.

e.  Following each incident, debrief with the sworn members involved and, if feasible, his/her shifts.

Training Responsibilities (630.15)

The Training Division will ensure recruit sworn members receive training in the Advanced Academy on foot pursuit policy and techniques. Follow-up training will occur, as needed, and delivered by debriefings. Tips and Techniques, roll call training and in-service training.

RU Manager Responsibilities (630.15)

RU managers will require all supervisors to review and debrief foot pursuits with all sworn members involved and, if feasible, his/her shifts.