To assist its officers in the safe performance
of their duties and to protect the public, it
is the policy of this department to regulate
the manner in which motor vehicle pursuits are
initiated and conducted with the guidelines
established in this directive.
A. Motor Vehicle Pursuit: An effort by an
officer operating or directing the operation
of a motor vehicle to stop another motor
vehicle when an occupant of that vehicle is
a suspected violator of the law and the driver
of that vehicle appears to be ignoring lawful
commands to stop or to be fleeing from the police.
B. Authorized Emergency Vehicle: A vehicle
that is authorized for police service and
equipped with an operable department-authorized
blue light and siren; and police helicopters.
C. Primary Unit: The police vehicle that
initiates or continues as the lead vehicle in a pursuit.
D. Secondary Unit: Any police vehicle that
becomes involved as a backup to the primary unit.
E. Pursuit Supervisor: The sector sergeant
assigned to the area where the pursuit is initiated.
In the sector sergeant’s absence, the field supervisor
who is notified by the Communications Division shall
be designated as the pursuit supervisor.
F. Body-worn Camera (BWC): A department-issued,
compact video-recording device worn by an officer
for the purpose of recording interactions with the public.
G. Superior Officer: An officer above the rank of sergeant.
A. Motor vehicle pursuits may be hazardous
because of the speeds and intricate maneuvers involved.
B. Therefore, in each decision to engage in
a motor vehicle pursuit, the need to apprehend
the suspect must be weighed against the need to
avoid harm to persons and property. In general,
the greater the risk of harm to the officer, the
suspect, or the public in the pursuit, the less
justification there is for the pursuit.
C. It is impractical to formulate precise,
objective rules to cover all pursuit situations
because of the number and complexity of variables
involved. Decisions about pursuits must be based
on judgments by the participating officers. These
judgments must reflect each officer’s best efforts
to apply common sense, training, experience, and
departmental guidelines to the situation at hand.
D. Pursuits must be carried out in accordance
with the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Revised Ordinances
of Honolulu, and the directives of the Honolulu
Police Department (HPD).
E. Officers should not engage in pursuits
conducted by other (i.e., non-HPD) agencies or
jurisdictions without authorization from their
respective field supervisors.
F. Vehicles not equipped with department-
authorized blue lights and sirens shall not
engage in motor vehicle pursuits.
INITIATION OF PURSUIT
The blue light and siren shall be used to command
a vehicle to stop before a pursuit is initiated.
A. A pursuit may be initiated with an
authorized emergency vehicle if an officer directs
a driver to stop but that driver exhibits intentions
of eluding the officer by being evasive.
B. When an officer initiates a motor vehicle
pursuit, the officer shall continuously use
the flashing blue light and siren and shall:
1. Immediately notify a dispatcher by specifically
announcing that he or she is initiating a pursuit;
2. Provide the reason for the pursuit;
3. Provide the location and direction of the pursuit;
4. Provide the speeds involved;
5. Provide the weather conditions;
6. Provide a general description of the pedestrian and vehicular traffic;
7. Provide the description and license plate number of the pursuit vehicle; and
8. Provide a description of the pursued vehicle’s occupants.
The officer shall provide frequent updates of items
3 to 6 above, particularly when the situation changes
(e.g., speed increases or change in location or direction)
or the pursuit is prolonged.
Secondary units have a shared responsibility to
ensure frequent updates of items 3 to 6 above are provided.
C. The dispatcher shall, upon gathering adequate information, make timely notification to the appropriate field supervisors (field sergeants and/or lieutenants) and the on-duty lieutenant (or designee in the lieutenant’s absence) of the Communications Division. The Communications Division lieutenant shall monitor the pursuit closely.
D. A pursuit shall be handled by the primary dispatcher, who will select the frequency to be used. A multicast broadcast shall be made to notify all available units of the pursuit. The dispatcher shall transmit all available information about the pursuit.
E. The dispatcher shall contact the helicopter unit
and direct it to assist if the unit is available
and it is deemed appropriate.
F. The primary frequency dispatcher and officers
in the field shall monitor the pursuit on their radios.
A. When a pursuit is initiated, the responsibility
for supervising the pursuit shall be assumed by the
pursuit supervisor or, in that officer’s absence,
by the ranking supervisor available at the time
(field sergeant or a field lieutenant). The pursuit
supervisor shall determine the units that are to
participate and shall direct the pursuit.
B. The initially assigned pursuit supervisor
is responsible for determining whether the situation
is in fact a pursuit and shall direct the pursuit
throughout its duration.
C. When a superior officer begins to instruct
or direct officers involved in the pursuit,
the pursuit supervisor’s responsibilities are
transferred to that superior officer.
D. When continuing the pursuit becomes dangerous,
it shall be the responsibility of any field supervisor to terminate it.
E. The initial patrol district watch commander
shall ensure that a To/From report to the district
commander is submitted in accordance with
section VII A of this directive.
A. Number of Police Vehicles
As a general rule, no more than two police vehicles shall pursue another vehicle at any time. However, the pursuit supervisor may authorize more vehicles to participate in the pursuit if deemed necessary for the safety of the officers involved (e.g., multiple suspects, armed suspects, or serious crime).
1. Primary Unit
Guidelines for the primary unit’s involvement in a
pursuit are outlined in section III.
2. Secondary Unit
The operator of a secondary unit that becomes
involved as a backup to the primary unit shall:
a. Keep the emergency lights and siren
activated at all times during the pursuit;
b. Inform a dispatcher that he or she is
engaging in the pursuit; and
c. Inform a dispatcher when he or she takes over the pursuit.
B. Officers Not Participating in the Pursuit
Officers not directed by the pursuit supervisor
to participate shall not join in the pursuit.
They should monitor the progress of the pursuit
on their radios and position themselves so as
to be prepared to assist if directed to do so.
C. Overtaking the Pursued Vehicle
An officer should not attempt to pull alongside
or pass a pursued vehicle; to do so would only
place the officer in a vulnerable position.
Rather, the pursuing officer should remain a
safe distance behind the pursued vehicle and
keep it in sight until the driver stops voluntarily.
Pursuing police vehicles should remain a safe distance from each other.
If a firearm is used, it shall be in strict compliance
with applicable laws and directives covering the use of firearms.
Any officer with a BWC who becomes involved in a pursuit shall
activate and use the camera in strict compliance with applicable
laws and directives. Refer to Policy 2.57, BODY-WORN CAMERAS.
Vehicles used for law enforcement purposes, regardless of registered ownership, shall not be used to block, contain, or ram a subject’s vehicle.
G. Traffic Regulations
Officers not directed to participate in a pursuit
shall not violate traffic regulations in order to
position themselves near the pursuit.
The helicopter shall assist in a pursuit when the
unit is available and is deemed appropriate to do
so. If the helicopter is able to track the pursued
vehicle, this fact and other relevant information
shall be relayed to the pursuit supervisor. Based
on the information provided, the pursuit supervisor
may consider directing all ground units to terminate
their pursuit and have these units respond to the
location of the pursued vehicle in a nonemergency status.
TERMINATION OF PURSUIT
A. A pursuit shall be terminated under any one of the following conditions:
1. When the risk created by the pursuit is
unreasonable given the nature of the offense for
which the suspect is being pursued and the conditions
under which the pursuit must be conducted.
a. An assessment of the risks created by the pursuit should include:
(1) Speeds involved;
(2) The volume of traffic on the road;
(3) Pedestrian traffic;
(4) Weather and roadway conditions;
(5) Actions of the pursued vehicle;
(6) Actions of the pursuing officer(s); and
(7) Additional factors such as actions at
intersections (e.g., running a red light
or stop sign), school zones, time of day,
and anything else that may affect visibility and maneuverability.
b. The primary responsibility for a decision to
terminate a pursuit rests with the pursuit supervisor.
The primary unit is responsible for the decision when
no supervisor is available.
2. When the suspect has been identified with
sufficient certainty that apprehension can be effected later.
3. When the whereabouts of the pursued vehicle are no longer certain.
B. While supervisors are charged with the
responsibility of terminating a pursuit, this
does not preclude any other officer, including
the primary unit, from terminating the pursuit
based on his or her knowledge of conditions
that are relevant to the pursuit.
C. The helicopter pilot will have the final
discretion to terminate their participation
in a pursuit if the pilot or observer feels
the risk to continue the pursuit from the air
outweighs the need to continue the pursuit.
D. When a pursuit is terminated, the pursuing
officer(s) shall turn off the vehicle’s siren
and blue lights, reduce the vehicle’s speed to
the posted limit, and attempt to maneuver his
or her vehicle out of view of the pursued driver.
E. Upon the termination of the pursuit, the
helicopter shall climb to the normal cruising
altitude and out of view of the pursuit vehicle
unless directed by the pursuit supervisor to
continue monitoring the vehicle.
MOTOR VEHICLE PURSUIT REPORTS
A. A To/From report on each motor vehicle
pursuit shall be prepared by all participating
personnel from all of the elements that were
involved in the pursuit (e.g., pursuit supervisor,
primary and secondary units, and officers of the
Helicopter Section) and reviewed by the respective
element commander. The reports shall include:
1. The reason for the pursuit;
2. The date, start time, and end time of the pursuit;
3. Parties involved;
4. Synopsis of the circumstances; and
5. If a BWC was present and whether or not it was activated.
The on-duty lieutenant or designee of the Communications
Division shall submit a To/From report documenting the
involvement of the division’s personnel in the pursuit incident.
B. Each report shall be forwarded by the next
day after the incident to the commander (or designee)
of the element where the pursuit began. This commander
is responsible for collecting all of the reports and
submitting them to the Professional Standards Office
(PSO) within five days of the pursuit. The commander
should use a To/From template, which outlines relevant
information regarding motor vehicle pursuits, as a
transmittal for all of the reports. Copies of this
template can be obtained from the PSO.
C. The major of the PSO shall forward a set
of the reports and transmittal to the Pursuit
Review Board (PRB) and commander of the element
where the pursuit began.
PURSUIT REVIEW BOARD
The PRB shall review all motor vehicle pursuits
and recommend a course of action to the Chief
of Police. The board shall consist of a major
or designee from each bureau (total of six).
The Traffic Division major shall be the chair
for the PRB. The other five members shall be
selected by the Administrative Review Board (ARB).
A majority of the board members constitutes a quorum.
A. Each member shall serve at least 12 months
and two members shall be replaced by the ARB each year.
B. A vice-chair shall be elected by the PRB
members and shall serve a minimum of 12 months.
C. The captain(s) of the element(s) involved in
the pursuit shall appear before the board and
provide a synopsis of the pursuit and make
recommendations concerning whether the pursuit
was conducted within acceptable parameters or
if additional investigation is required.
D. After considering all pertinent information,
the PRB shall take one of the following actions:
1. Determine the pursuit was conducted within
acceptable parameters and submit the conclusion
in writing to the Chief of Police;
2. Determine the pursuit was not conducted within
acceptable parameters but that no additional
investigation is required and recommend to the
Chief of Police a non-disciplinary action; or
3. Determine the pursuit was not conducted within
acceptable parameters and direct the commander of
the affected employee to conduct a full investigation
of the pursuit without determining a final disposition
or corrective action. In certain circumstances and
at the discretion of the PRB, the chair may direct
the PSO to conduct the investigation.
DISPOSITION OF INVESTIGATION
A. Each completed investigation report shall
be circulated by the PRB chair to all board members
for their review. The chair shall also ensure that
the report is circulated to all commanders of
employees who are being charged.
B. The captain of each accused employee’s element
shall appear before the board at the request of
the chair and provide a synopsis of the case,
testimony about the work history and disciplinary
record of the employee, and recommendations
concerning the disposition of the investigation.
C. The accused employee shall be provided
an opportunity to appear before the board in
person or may provide a written response to the
charge(s). The accused employee may include any
mitigating circumstances for the board’s
consideration. A written notice of the hearing
shall be delivered to the accused employee at
least 14 calendar days prior to the hearing date.
(Refer to Policy 5.01, COMPLAINTS AND INTERNAL
INVESTIGATIONS, for a sample notification letter.)
If the accused employee elects to appear in person,
the employee shall be entitled to have a union representative present.
D. After considering all pertinent information,
the PRB shall submit its recommendation(s) in writing
via the Deputy Chief of Police to the Chief of Police.
Every January, the PRB shall complete a
report to be submitted to the Chief of Police that includes:
A. An analysis of all pursuit reports to
determine possible patterns and trends;
B. A review of pursuit policies and reporting procedures; and
C. Any recommendations for training and/or policy changes.