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Berkeley County Sheriffs Office Policy & Procedure Manual

Procedure: 507 Vehicular Pursuit

Distribution: All Personnel

Date Initially Effective: By the Order Of:

06/01/2011 S. Duane Lewis, Sheriff

Date Revised: Date Approved:

06/02/2016 06/20/2016

CALEA STANDARD REF. NUMBERS: 41.2.2 items a,b,c,d,e,f,g,

h,I,j. / 41.2.3 items a,b,c,d,e.


I. Purpose

To establish guidelines with regard to vehicular pursuits.

II. Policy

Vehicular pursuits will be strictly regulated with due regard for the potential
danger to the public, agency personnel, and suspects involved in the pursuit.

III. Definitions

A. Vehicular pursuit: An active attempt by a law enforcement officer in an

authorized emergency vehicle utilizing emergency warning lights and an
audible device to apprehend one or more occupants of another moving
motor vehicle, when the law enforcement officer reasonably believes that
the driver of the fleeing vehicle is resisting apprehension by increasing
vehicle speed, ignoring the law enforcement officer or otherwise
attempting to elude the law enforcement officer. And the driver of the
fleeing vehicle is aware of the attempt and is resisting apprehension.

B. Authorized emergency vehicle: Any approved agency vehicle equipped

with operable emergency equipment (i.e., blue lights and siren) pursuant
to 56-5-4700 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, as amended.

C. Pursuit Vehicles:

1. Primary Unit: The police vehicle that initiates a pursuit or any unit
that assumes control of the pursuit as the lead vehicle (the first
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police vehicle immediately behind the fleeing suspect).

2. Secondary Unit: Any police vehicle which becomes involved as a

backup to the primary unit and follows the primary unit at a safe

D. Roadblock: A physical obstruction of a roadway with an authorized

emergency vehicle or other object for the purpose of stopping, detouring,
or disabling an approaching vehicle or person.

a. Avenue of Escape: A gap in the roadblock which requires the

violator to decrease the vehicle speed to permit the violator to
bypass the roadblock.

b. Blocking Vehicle: A motor vehicle, often a law enforcement vehicle,

which is placed perpendicular to a roadway or angled in such a way
as to create a roadblock.

E. Boxing In: The surrounding of a violators moving vehicle with moving

pursuit vehicles which are then slowed to a stop along with the violators

F. Divided Highway: A road which includes a physical barrier between traffic

traveling in opposite directions.

G. Heading Off: An attempt to terminate a pursuit by pulling ahead of, behind

or toward a violators moving vehicle to force it to the side of the road or to
otherwise come to a stop.

H. Law Enforcement Officer: Any person sworn to uphold the law whose
training has included Pursuit/Emergency Driving and who is currently
employed by a public safety agency.

I. Paralleling:

1. Street Paralleling: Driving a police vehicle on a street parallel to a

street on which a pursuit is occurring.

2. Vehicle Paralleling: A deliberate defensive tactic by one or more

patrol vehicles to drive along side the pursued vehicle while it is in

J. Designated Supervisor: The on-duty patrol supervisor responsible as the

primary point of first line supervision of the pursuit regardless of the
agency rank or assignment of pursuing personnel involved in the pursuit.
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K. Vehicle Contact Action: Any action undertaken by the pursuing law
enforcement officer intended to result in contact between the moving
police vehicle and the pursued vehicle.

L. Violator: Any person who a law enforcement officer reasonably believes:

(a) has committed a misdemeanor or felony as specified in state statutes;
(b) poses an immediate threat to the safety of the public or other law
enforcement officers.

IV. Procedure

A. Evaluating the Circumstances and Initiation of Pursuit

1. The decision to initiate pursuit must be based on the pursuing

employees conclusion that the immediate danger to the employee
and the public created by the pursuit is less than the immediate or
potential danger to the public should the suspect remain at large.
Pursuit may be justified if the employee reasonably believes that
the suspect, if allowed to flee, would present a danger to human life
or cause serious injury.

2. Agency personnel in an approved authorized emergency vehicle

may initiate a vehicular pursuit when the suspect exhibits the
intention to avoid apprehension by refusing to stop when properly
directed to do so.

3. Agency undercover and special purpose vehicles should not initiate

or participate in vehicular pursuits except in situations where
immediate law enforcement action is warranted. These units
should disengage from pursuits when support from marked patrol
vehicles becomes available. Operators of undercover vehicles
should notify Central Communications of their vehicle description to
advise responding units as required. (CALEA 41.2.2 item d.)

4. In deciding whether to initiate pursuit, agency personnel will take

into consideration:

a. road, weather and environmental conditions;

b. population density and vehicular and pedestrian traffic;

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c. the relative performance capabilities of the pursuit vehicle
and the vehicle being pursued;

d. the seriousness of the offense;

e. the presence of civilian personnel in agency vehicles; and

f. the involvement of a juvenile.

(CALEA 41.2.2 item a.)

B. Pursuit Operations

1. All emergency vehicle operations will be conducted in strict

conformance with applicable state statutes.

2. Upon engaging in a pursuit, the pursuing vehicle will activate

emergency lights and sirens. The use of emergency lights and siren
does not relieve agency personnel from the responsibility of driving
defensively and with due regard for the safety of other drivers,
bicyclists, and pedestrians. When using emergency equipment,
agency personnel are requesting the right of way and do not have
the absolute right of way to indiscriminately disregard traffic lights
or stop signs (See 56-5-760).

3. Agency personnel initiating a pursuit will, in all cases, notify Central

Communications of the pursuit and provide the following

a. description of pursued vehicle, to include number of


b. direction of travel, with periodic advisement of location;

c. reason for pursuit;

d. weather conditions;

e. speed;

f. traffic conditions; and

g. involvement of a juvenile.

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4. Units operating on the primary radio channel who become involved
in a pursuit, or emergency situation, will request that the channel be
cleared for emergency traffic only immediately. This allows patrol
units to respond and provide assistance as needed.
(CALEA 41.2.2 item b.)

5. Once advised of a pursuit, Central Communications will:

a. order the radio cleared except for emergency transmissions;

b. advise the on-duty designated patrol supervisor and all other

units of the pursuit to include any pertinent information
provided by pursuing agency personnel;

c. assist in directing back-up units to strategic locations as

ordered by the supervisor;

d. alert other law enforcement agencies of the pursuit, to

include any pertinent information provided by agency
personnel, if the pursuit crosses into a municipalitys
jurisdiction or goes beyond agency jurisdictional boundaries;

e. establish lines of communication between responding units

from different jurisdictions;

f. query DMV and NCIC for registration information and/or

g. relay the location of roadblocks or the placement of Stop
Stick, if applicable, to responding units; and
h. monitor the pursuit until it has been terminated.
(CALEA 41.2.2 item e.)

6. When engaged in pursuit, agency personnel will not drive with

reckless disregard for the safety of others.

7. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, a pursuit will consist of no

more than two law enforcement vehicles, a primary and a
secondary unit. Other personnel may tactically place themselves to
assist, but will stay clear of the pursuit unless instructed to
participate by a supervisor.

8. The secondary unit, once engaged, will serve as a backup unit and
will assume responsibility for radio communications concerning the
status of the pursuit (i.e., location and direction of travel) thereby
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allowing the primary unit to focus greater attention to pursuit
driving. (CALEA 41.2.2 item c.)

9. Depending on circumstances, the primary pursuit unit may become

the secondary unit or disengage from the pursuit entirely as other
units assume either primary and/or secondary unit responsibilities.

C. Supervisory Responsibilities

1. When made aware of a vehicular pursuit, the designated

supervisor will acknowledge that he/she is monitoring the
pursuit, monitor incoming information, coordinate and direct
activities as needed to ensure that proper procedures are
used, and will have the discretion to terminate the pursuit.

2. If the designated patrol supervisor becomes a pursuit unit,

he/she will immediately relinquish supervisory control of the
pursuit to the next available supervisor. The newly
designated supervisor assuming control of the pursuit will
acknowledge that he/she is monitoring the status of the
pursuit. If no available supervisor is immediately available on
the channel being utilized, Central Communications will alert
a supervisor operating on another channel to monitor the
pursuit. (CALEA 41.2.2 item f.)

3. The designated supervisor will direct the planning and

deployment of Stop Sticks as the approved vehicle stopping
method to terminate the pursuit if possible.
(CALEA 41.2.3 item d.)

4. Any supervisor who becomes involved in a pursuit regardless

of agency rank or assignment is prohibited from monitoring
or controlling the pursuit.

5. Where possible, a supervisor will respond to the location

where a vehicle has been stopped following a pursuit.

D. Pursuit Tactics

1. Agency personnel will not normally follow the pursuit on

parallel streets unless authorized by a supervisor or when it
is possible to conduct such an operation without
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unreasonable hazard to other vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

2. When feasible, available patrol units having the most

prominent markings and emergency lights will be used to
pursue, particularly as the primary unit. When a pursuit is
initiated by other than a marked patrol unit, such unit will
become the secondary unit or disengage when a marked
unit becomes available.

3. During the course of a pursuit, deliberate contact between

vehicles or forcing the pursued vehicle into parked cars,
ditches, or any other obstacle, boxing in, heading off,
ramming or driving alongside the pursued vehicle while it is
in motion will be prohibited unless such actions are
specifically authorized by a supervisor. Such actions may be
approved only when the use of deadly force would be
authorized. Reckless or hazardous driving maneuvers will
not be duplicated by any pursuing vehicle.

4. Agency personnel will not discharge firearms at or from a

moving vehicle except as the ultimate measure of self-
defense or the defense of another when the suspect is using
deadly force by any means. The decision to use firearms on
or from a moving vehicle will take into account the location,
vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and hazard potential to
innocent persons. This decision should first be authorized,
whenever possible, by a supervisor.

E. Use of Tire-deflation Devices as a Forcible Stopping Tactic:

1. Hollow spike strip tire-deflation devices (e.g., Stop Stick)

may be deployed by assisting units to stop fleeing vehicles
after other reasonable means of termination have been
a. Only agency authorized and issued tire deflation
devices will be used.
b. Whenever possible, supervisory approval should be
obtained prior to deployment.

c. Agency personnel will utilize Stop Sticks as the

primary tool to stop a fleeing vehicle. The use of tire
deflation devices must be directly associated with the
seriousness of the crime for which the suspect is
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d. The use of road blocks in any form to stop a fleeing
vehicle is prohibited unless specifically authorized by
a supervisor. This measure may be approved only
when the use of deadly force would be authorized.
The supervisor authorizing the deployment of a
roadblock is responsible to justify the action.
(CALEA 41.2.3 item a.)

2. Prior to deployment, agency personnel should consider:

a. the safety of agency personnel involved;

b. the risk of physical injury to the occupants of the

fleeing vehicle; and the risk to innocent parties
(pedestrians, bystanders, other motorists, etc.) and/or
private property.

3. Because Stop Stick is designed to be used against

vehicles with four or more tires only, it will not be deployed
against motorcycles, mopeds, or similar two or three-
wheeled vehicles.

4. Stop Stick may be deployed only on paved surfaces.

5. Unless the continued movement of the fleeing vehicle would

result in an unusual hazard to others, Stop Stick should not
be deployed against the following vehicles:

a. school buses transporting students;

b. passenger buses transporting passengers; and

c. vehicles carrying hazardous loads, fuels, etc.

6. In planning where to deploy Stop Stick, consideration

should be given to geographic locations which are conducive
to minimizing the risk of injury or damage to property.

7. Agency personnel should exercise extreme care when

deploying Stop Stick and immediately seek an area of
protection once deployed.

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8. Radio communication and close coordination will be
maintained between pursuing units and personnel deploying
Stop Stick. Subsequent to deployment, pursuing units will
exercise care when approaching the location of deployment
so as not to drive over the devices themselves. Personnel
deploying Stop Stick will promptly remove the devices from
the roadway once the fleeing vehicle crosses them.

9. Only a supervisor is authorized to order deployment of Stop

Stick tire deflation devices.
(CALEA 41.2.3 item b.)

10. Agency personnel will be trained on the proper use and

deployment of Stop Sticks prior to issue and field
assignment. Agency personnel assigned Stop Sticks will
attend re-training bi-annually at scheduled Block Training.
(CALEA 41.2.3 item c.)

11. Incident(s) where a roadblock is authorized by supervisory

authority regardless if the suspect was apprehended
requires complete documentation including submission of a
Use of Force Review Package and a complete
administrative review of the incident by the Office of
Professional Standards.
(CALEA 41.2.3 item e.)
F. Termination of the Pursuit

The primary pursuing unit will continually re-evaluate and assess

the pursuit situation including all of the initiating factors and
terminate the pursuit whenever agency personnel reasonably
believes the risks associated with continuing the pursuit are
greater than the public safety benefit or making an immediate

a. The pursuit may be terminated by the primary unit at any time.

b. The designated supervisor or a ranking command staff

supervisor may order the termination of a pursuit at any time.

c. A pursuit may be terminated if the suspects identity has been

determined, immediate apprehension is not necessary to protect
the public or law enforcement personnel, and apprehension at a
later time is feasible.

d. Pursuit(s) entering parking lots, school zones, construction

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zones, residential areas or any other type of controlled or
restricted access highway or private property will be terminated
by the pursuing personnel unless express permission is received
from the designated supervisor to continue the pursuit. The
designated supervisor authorizing continuation of the pursuit is
responsible for the justification of continuing the pursuit.

e. Pursuit(s) leaving improved / paved roads or highways onto

unimproved surfaces ie; dirt roads, fields will be terminated by
pursuing personnel unless express permission is received
from the designated supervisor to continue the pursuit. The
designated supervisor authorizing continuation of the pursuit is
responsible for the justification of continuing the pursuit.
(CALEA 41.2.2 item g.)

G. Inter-jurisdictional Pursuits

1. Agency personnel will notify Central Communications when

it is likely that a pursuit will continue into a municipal
jurisdiction or depart Berkeley County jurisdiction. Central
Communications will notify outside agencies to request
assistance if the pursuit appears to be headed into their
jurisdiction. (CALEA 41.2.2 item h.)

3. Agency personnel will not become involved in outside

agencys pursuit unless specifically authorized by a
supervisor or it is clearly demonstrated that a unit from an
outside agency is unable to request assistance or the
emergency nature of the situation dictates the need for

4. Agency personnel conducting a vehicle pursuit will be

restricted to Berkeley County jurisdiction and will not depart
the county without express permission from a supervisor.
Justification to authorize an out of county vehicle pursuit
must be predicated on a serious imminent threat to public

5. When a pursuit enters into Berkeley County, this agency's

pursuit procedures, specific inter-agency agreements, and
applicable state law will govern the actions of agency

H. Administrative Review
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1. All pursuits in which agency personnel are involved will be
reported in writing. An incident report detailing the particulars
of the pursuit (i.e., reason for pursuit, route taken, speeds
reached, etc.) will be completed by the primary unit prior to
securing from the tour of duty with a copy forwarded to the
supervisor responsible for monitoring the pursuit. Vehicle
Pursuit must appear as an incident type on the incident
report. An administrative review will be conducted for all
vehicular pursuits and appropriate corrective measures
taken to address operational, training or disciplinary issues.
(CALEA 41.2.2 item i.)

2. Assisting units will complete a supplemental report to

the initial report detailing their actions and involvement and
turn it in to the supervisor responsible for monitoring the
pursuit before securing from their tour of duty.

3. Forensic personnel will secure any in-car mobile video/audio

recording (MVR) tapes capturing the pursuit from involved
units vehicles if the vehicle is so equipped.

4. The designated supervisor will request that a copy of the

CAD printout of the pursuit is retained by the Central
Communications Shift Supervisor prior to completing the
tour of duty.

5. The designated supervisor responsible for monitoring the

pursuit will complete a request to the Central
Communications Manager for a copy of all radio
transmissions that were broadcast regarding the pursuit.

6. The designated supervisor responsible for monitoring the

pursuit will submit a Supervisors Vehicle Pursuit Review
Package, to the Office of Professional Standards through
the Division Commander of the primary unit by the next duty
day or as soon as practical. Original reports will be
forwarded to the Records Division.

7. The Division Commander of the primary unit will ensure the

Supervisors Vehicle Pursuit Review Package is forwarded
to the Office of Professional Standards for review and
inclusion into the Annual Pursuit Analysis.

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8. The Inspector will be responsible for creating an Annual
Pursuit Analysis. The report will include an analysis of:

a. The number of pursuits, accidents, injuries, pursuit

terminations, pursuits involving other agencies and a
comparison to the previous two years for this data;

b. The actions of the initiating deputy, the secondary

unit; communications personnel and the supervisor to
determine if agency policies and procedures are
being followed or should be amended:

c. The initial reason for the pursuit and the resulting

charges; and

d. A review of the policy and reporting procedures to

identify any changes should be made to the policy or
the reporting procedures.
(CALEA 41.2.2 item j., item k.)

9. All vehicle pursuit files will be maintained in the Office of

Professional Standards.

I. Training

Agency personnel operating assigned vehicles will be given initial

and annual training in the agencys pursuit policy and defensive
driving techniques.

J. Accidents

Any motor vehicle collision that occurs during a vehicle pursuit

initiated by the agency will be reported to the South Carolina
Highway Patrol for investigation.

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