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0630.05 Vehicle Interventions and Pursuits

Directive 630.05 Vehicle Interventions and Pursuits

Refer:  

  • ORS § 164.135, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
  • Portland Metropolitan Interagency Pursuit Agreement (2012)
  • BOEC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • DIR 220.40, Lawsuits and Claims
  • DIR 310.20, Retaliation Prohibited
  • DIR 600.00, Aircraft Use
  • DIR 630.10, Driving Response
  • DIR 905.00, Non-Force After Action Reports
  • DIR 1010.00, Use of Force
  • DIR 1010.10, Deadly Force and In-Custody Death Reporting and Investigation Procedures
  • DIR 1500.00, Training 

Definitions:

  • Boxing In: A coordinated tactic of positioning police vehicles around a suspect vehicle to stop or prevent the start of a pursuit. 
  • Marked Unit:  An emergency police vehicle equipped with overhead lights. 
  • Pursuit: An active, deliberate attempt by one or more members to apprehend one or more occupants of another moving vehicle, when it is reasonably apparent that the driver of that vehicle is aware of that attempt and is resisting apprehension by increasing speed, disobeying traffic laws, or attempting to elude the officer through evasive maneuvers or tactics. 
  • Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT): A driving technique designed to stop a fleeing motorist safely and quickly by making contact with the fleeing car at a specific point on the vehicle, which throws the car into a spin and brings it to a stop. 
  • Ramming: The use of an emergency (police) vehicle, other than in a pursuit intervention technique or boxing in maneuver, to purposely cause contact with another vehicle in order to disable the vehicle. 
  • Stop/Spike Strips: Devices used to deflate tires in a controlled fashion. 
  • Vehicle:  For purposes of this Directive, a vehicle is a motorized vehicle. 
  • Vehicle Intervention Strategies: Tactics which may be used to stop or reduce the speed of a fleeing vehicle in an attempt to reduce safety risks posed to the community, the suspect, and members (e.g. barricading, boxing in, pursuit intervention technique, ramming, stop/spike strips).

Policy:

  1. The Bureau recognizes that vehicle pursuits are dynamic and rapidly evolving in nature and, as a result, have inherent safety risks.  Therefore, members are expected to be able to articulate their decision-making with regard to pursuits, and engaging in and/or continuing a pursuit shall be objectively reasonable under the totality of circumstances.
  2. Members shall be trained in pursuit management.  In an effort to uphold the Bureau’s commitment to protecting human life and property, members must balance the safety risks posed to the community against the benefit of capture before initiating and while continuing the pursuit.  

Procedure:

1. Pursuit Authorization.

1.1. Members shall only initiate a pursuit of a suspect fleeing in a vehicle when there is reasonable suspicion to believe the suspect committed a felony person crime or where the suspect’s driving conduct, prior to the initiation of a stop, displays a willful disregard for the safety of others that reasonably places the public in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death.  

1.2. Members shall not engage in a pursuit under the following circumstances:

1.2.1. The suspect’s identity is known and the suspect can be apprehended at a future time, and if the suspect’s driving behavior does not place the public in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death. 

1.2.2. Police vehicles carrying suspects, complainants or witnesses shall not become involved in pursuits.

1.2.3. Cadets shall not become involved in pursuits. 

1.3. Members shall disengage from a pursuit under the following circumstances:

1.3.1. If the member is driving any vehicle other than a four-wheeled pursuit rated marked unit when a pursuit is initiated, that member shall disengage primary pursuit when a four-wheeled pursuit rated marked unit is in position to assume the pursuit.  The disengaging unit may follow at a safe distance until the conclusion of the pursuit.

1.3.2. Police vehicles carrying passengers other than members, including ride-alongs, chaplains or cadets, shall disengage primary pursuit when a four-wheeled pursuit rated marked unit is in position to assume the pursuit.

1.3.3. The pursuit has entered another jurisdiction, another agency has taken over the primary role in the pursuit and the other agency has adequate cover present.

1.3.4. If a collision occurs as a result of the pursuit that is reasonably likely to require immediate medical assistance and more than one police vehicle is in pursuit, at least one pursuing member shall disengage from the pursuit and render appropriate aid while the other members continue pursuit.  If only one police vehicle is in pursuit and a collision occurs as a result of the pursuit that is reasonably likely to require immediate medical assistance, but the benefit of capture outweighs disengagement, the pursuing member must call for immediate backup to render appropriate aid; the involved member may continue the pursuit.    

1.3.4.1. For minor accidents not requiring immediate medical assistance, supporting members who are not engaged in the pursuit shall respond to the scene of the accident.

1.3.4.2. If a member is involved in a collision, they will immediately broadcast that information. 

1.4. Under extraordinary circumstances, supervisors may authorize a pursuit that would otherwise be prohibited in this section. 

2. Pursuit Balancing Factors.

2.1. The below factors should be taken into consideration before deciding to initiate a pursuit, and these factors should be reassessed on an ongoing basis in deciding to continue or reengage in a pursuit. Members must be able to articulate reasons why the benefit of capture outweighs the safety risks posed to the community in the pursuit. Members must terminate a pursuit when the safety risks posed to the community clearly outweigh the benefit of capture. Key factors include:

2.1.1. The seriousness of the offense committed, and the risk the suspect(s) poses to the community.

2.1.2. The suspect’s driving behavior and vehicle condition, as well as the presence of passengers in the fleeing vehicle.  

2.1.3. The member’s knowledge of the area(s), proximity of cover and feasibility of implementing pursuit intervention strategies.

2.1.4. The type of area, volume and presence of other vehicles and/or pedestrian traffic, and environmental and visibility conditions.   

3. Member Responsibilities.

3.1. Only a maximum of three units shall engage in a pursuit with lights and sirens continuously activated.  At least one member in the pursuit shall frequently broadcast pertinent information (e.g. location, speed, direction, conditions, etc.).  The primary unit shall immediately notify the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) of the reasons for the pursuit and stay involved in some capacity until termination.

3.1.1. Exceptions to the three unit maximum may be authorized by a supervisor under very limited circumstances and only when an unusually dangerous situation dictates (e.g. multiple dangerous suspects, shots fired, armed robbery, etc.).  Supervisory approval for additional pursuit vehicles must be authorized by voice over the air.

3.1.2. The decision to attempt to use a pursuit intervention technique maneuver will not alone be a justification for a fourth unit. 

3.2. The managing supervisor will announce their role over the radio and respond to the area of the pursuit; supervisors involved in the pursuit shall not assume management responsibilities.  

3.3. Involved members and the supervisor should remain on the initial talk group (precinct dispatch net).  

3.4. Other members/units in the general vicinity of the pursuit who are not directly involved may proceed with caution to a position that would assist in perimeter support or to deploy stop/spike sticks. 

3.5. When feasible, the Air Support Unit will become the primary unit in a pursuit. The ground units will continue at a safe distance and at a reduced speed to respond and take control at the conclusion of the pursuit. The managing supervisor will maintain overall control of the pursuit and potential use of intervention strategies. 

4. Pursuit Intervention Strategies and Standards.

4.1. Members may only employ pursuit intervention strategies that are Bureau approved and that they have been trained to use. 

4.2. When feasible, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure pursuit intervention strategies are planned and deployed as soon as practical.   

4.3. Members should, if time and circumstances permit, continually broadcast their intentions and actions as they use pursuit intervention strategies. 

4.4. Members may use the following Bureau-approved strategies.  Unless otherwise noted, these strategies shall implicate force.

4.4.1. Boxing In: This tactic may be employed preemptively, meaning without lights/siren warnings, when there is probable cause to arrest a suspect in a vehicle and the member is aware of the suspect's history of avoiding detention and arrest, or when the suspect’s driving behavior displays a willful disregard for the safety of others which reasonably places the public in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death.  As described in Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, boxing-in will be investigated as a Category 4 use of force, if conducted at speeds at or below 20 miles per hour in conjunction with training.  If the tactic is conducted at speeds above 20 miles per hour, the intent and manner in which the technique is used shall be considered to determine the appropriate category of force, as described in Directive 1010.00, Use of Force.  Members are required to provide substantial justification under these circumstances, and supervisors have the discretion to elevate the category of the force investigation.

4.4.2. Pursuit Intervention Technique: This tactic shall not be used on two-wheeled vehicles, passenger-occupied buses, and vehicles transporting hazardous materials. This tactic may be employed preemptively, meaning without lights/siren warnings, when there is probable cause to arrest a suspect in a vehicle and the member is aware of the suspect's history of avoiding detention and arrest, or when the suspect’s driving behavior displays a willful disregard for the safety of others which reasonably places the public in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death.  As described in Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, the PIT maneuver will be investigated as a Category 3 use of force, if conducted at speeds at or below 45 miles per hour in conjunction with training.  If the tactic is conducted at speeds above 45 miles per hour, the intent and manner in which the technique is used shall be considered to determine the appropriate category of force, as described in Directive 1010.00, Use of Force.  Members are required to provide substantial justification under these circumstances, and supervisors have the discretion to elevate the category of the force investigation.

4.4.3. Ramming: Members should only employ this tactic in extraordinary circumstances.  Any use of ramming requires substantial justification. As described in Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, ramming will be reviewed as a Category 2 use of force; however, supervisors have the discretion to elevate the category of the force investigation.  The intent and manner in which the technique is used shall be considered when making the determination to elevate the investigation.

4.4.4. Stop/Spike Strips: This tactic is not considered force. 

5. Pursuits Involving Other Jurisdictions.

5.1. For pursuits coming into the Bureau’s jurisdiction from another jurisdiction, the managing supervisor will determine whether members will become involved in the pursuit.  If the supervisor determines that the Bureau will assist in the pursuit, members may only engage in the pursuit consistent with this policy, regardless of the policies of the originating jurisdiction. 

5.2. For pursuits beginning in Bureau jurisdiction but leaving from this jurisdiction, it is the responsibility of a member of the primary pursuing unit to: 1) inform the receiving jurisdiction of the conditions giving rise to the pursuit and the actions taken during the pursuit; and 2) request assistance from the receiving jurisdiction.  If the receiving jurisdiction agrees to assume primary control of the pursuit, once that transfer occurs, the Bureau will only continue the pursuit in a supporting role.  If the receiving agency elects to terminate the pursuit while in that jurisdiction, PPB members will also terminate the pursuit.  

5.3. Supervisors shall manage notification and direct control of pursuits that either extend into or are received from other jurisdictions, including the State of Washington.  

6. Pursuit Termination.

6.1. Members must terminate a pursuit when the safety risks posed to the community clearly outweigh the benefit of capturing the suspect. Termination may be called by any sworn member, whether involved in the pursuit or not. Members will terminate a pursuit when ordered to do so by any supervisor.  Members will terminate a pursuit that travels into the State of Washington, unless the underlying offense is a violent person-to-person felony. 

6.2. Once a pursuit is terminated, involved members shall verbally acknowledge the termination over the radio, disengage and stop following the suspect vehicle. If involved in the pursuit, the Air Support Unit may continue to monitor the fleeing vehicle, but re-engagement by ground units is limited by Section 7 of this Directive. 

6.3. Per Directive 310.20, Retaliation Prohibited, members shall not retaliate against involved members regarding the decision to terminate a pursuit. 

6.4. Members shall refer concerned property owner(s) whose property may have been damaged during a pursuit to the City of Portland's Risk Management Office, in accordance with Directive 220.40, Lawsuits and Claims. 

7. Pursuit Re-engagement.

7.1. After termination, a member may reengage a pursuit of the suspect vehicle only if the member is able to articulate new reasons why the benefit of capture outweighs the safety risks posed to the community as a consequence of the pursuit (See Section 1, Pursuit Authorization and Section 2, Pursuit Balancing Factors). 

8. Reporting.

8.1. Involved members shall complete an appropriate police report detailing the pursuit in accordance with directives, and supervisors will complete any required force investigations in accordance with Directive 1010.00, Use of Force, or Directive 905.00, Non-Force After Action Reports. The intervention strategies detailed above when used on a subject’s vehicle are not accidents, and thus do not require accident related investigation and reporting. 

9. Supervisor Responsibilities.

9.1. In managing a pursuit, supervisors shall:

9.1.1. Determine if the pursuit is prohibited.

9.1.2. Continually balance the safety risks posed to the community against the benefit of capture in managing the pursuit.

9.1.3. Authorize and direct additional units to engage in a pursuit.

9.1.4. Ensure radio communication between all applicable parties.

9.1.5. Devise, approve and direct appropriate pursuit intervention strategies to end a pursuit as quickly as possible, so as to avoid or mitigate safety risks.

9.1.6. Manage notification and direct control of pursuits that either extend into, or are received from other jurisdictions.

9.1.7. Terminate the pursuit when necessary (e.g., members are not adequately broadcasting updates, intervention strategies are not being planned or implemented, the safety risks posed to the community clearly outweigh the benefit of capture).

9.1.8. Ensure reports are completed in accordance with directives.  

9.1.9. Conduct a debriefing with all involved members when feasible.

9.1.10. Complete an after action review and follow reporting requirements based on the category of force outlined in Direction 1010.00, Use of Force, and determine whether higher scrutiny is warranted based on the speed at which the vehicle intervention strategy was used based on Section 4.4. 

9.1.10.1. If no force is used, supervisors shall conduct a pursuit after action investigation pursuant to Directive 905.00, Non-Force After Action Reports. 

10. Command Staff Responsibilities.

10.1. The Assistant Chief of Operations, or designee, shall prepare an annual report analyzing Police Bureau pursuits. 

10.2. Command staff shall review the annual report, discuss trends, identify gaps, and direct necessary policy and training updates in accordance with Directive 1500.00, Training. 

History:

  • Originating Directive Date: 09/06/01
  • Last Revision Signed: 07/28/17
    • Effective Date: 8/26/17
  • Next Review Date: 7/28/19