HPD Makes Revisions to Motor Vehicle Pursuit Policy

August 7, 2009 - In an effort to better document facts and details in motor vehicle pursuit reports, the Houston Police Department on August 3 made revisions to its Motor Vehicle Pursuit Policy which requires supervisors to outline, in writing, all supervisory actions taken during a pursuit.
“As I have previously explained, our motor vehicle pursuit policy is constantly under review and HPD has always been open to make revisions which are in the best interests of public safety,” said HPD Police Chief Harold Hurtt.  “These recent revisions will enhance the accountability for supervisors and officers involved in vehicle pursuits to make sure we continue to conduct all pursuits in the manner which places the highest value upon the life and safety of our officers and the public, while accommodating our need to apprehend persons who have committed violations of the law,” Chief Hurtt said.
In order to more effectively capture the necessary facts and details regarding a motor vehicle pursuit, the policy regarding police chases is immediately being modified to require supplemental reports in a number of circumstances. Until the Motor Vehicle Pursuit Form is altered, the following supplements should be made to the original offense report.
Summary of Changes:
1. Supervisor responsibilities:
The designated on-duty field supervisor and any involved supervisors must supplement the original report documenting all supervisory actions taken during the chase.

2. Shift commander responsibilities:
For motor vehicle pursuits that last fifteen minutes or more or if units from other jurisdictions become involved in the pursuit, the shift commander must review all available information from the chase and must supplement the original offense report with any available relevant or pertinent information.

3. Night commander responsibilities:
As stated in the General Order, if for any reason the shift commander from the division initiating the pursuit is not available, the night commander will assume the management responsibilities indicated. In addition, the night commander must sign off on all vehicle pursuit forms that are submitted during the night commander’s shift and ensure all pertinent information is included in all required reports and supplements.

4. Stopping techniques:
Any personnel who deploy a tire deflation device (“spike strip”) must supplement the original report indicating the approximate location where the device was deployed, whether or not the target vehicle or others ran over the device, and if applicable, why the vehicle did not run over the device.

5. Captain’s responsibilities:
Captains will be held accountable for ensuring General Order 600-04 and the above policies are followed.  Captains will be expected to supervise compliance through training as well as counseling, and when obvious and purposeful deviations occur, by initiating an IAD investigation.

The new policy serves to clarify and supplement General Order 600-04, Motor Vehicle Pursuits, and will supersede only those provisions that are in direct conflict with these changes. The above listed changes were issued department wide via Circular and will be incorporated into General Order 600-04 at its next issuance.

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200 .

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