October 8, 2021

Formal complaint: Purpose and scope, Factors to consider before initiating a pursuit, Pursuit driving considerations and restrictions, and other policy violations

The complainant alleges that they were nearly hit by police cars while walking their dog in a crosswalk because the Austin police officers did not take precautions when responding to a stolen vehicle. OPO recommends this complaint receive a B classification.

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NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. 214.3.2 FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE INITIATING A PURSUIT With the exception of the specified restrictions on vehicle pursuits listed in this order, officers are authorized to initiate a pursuit when it is reasonable to believe that a subject is attempting to evade arrest or detention by fleeing in a vehicle. 214.3.4 PURSUIT DRIVING CONSIDERATIONS AND RESTRICTIONS The decision to use specific driving tactics requires the same assessment of factors to be considered concerning pursuit initiation and termination. 214.4 PURSUIT GUIDELINES Pursuit units shall be limited to four vehicles (three units and a control supervisor); however, a control supervisor may request additional units to join a pursuit if, after assessing the factors outlined above, it appears that the number of officers involved would be insufficient to safely stop the pursuit and/or arrest the subject(s). All other officers will stay out of the pursuit but should remain alert to its progress and location. 214.4.3 UNITS NOT INVOLVED IN A PURSUIT (a) There shall be no paralleling of a pursuit route by officers not authorized to be in a pursuit. (b) Officers not directly involved in the pursuit are authorized to proceed safely to controlled intersections ahead of the pursuit and use emergency equipment to warn vehicular and pedestrian traffic in an effort to protect the public. Officers should remain in their assigned area and should not become involved with the pursuit unless directed otherwise by a supervisor. (c) Non-pursuing personnel needed at the termination of a pursuit should respond in the appropriate manner based on the totality of the circumstances and type of assistance needed. 214.4.5 PURSUITS INITIATED BY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES The agency that initiates a pursuit shall be responsible for conducting the pursuit. Units from this department should not participate in, join, or assume control of a pursuit initiated by another agency unless approved by a supervisor or the Watch Lieutenant. As soon as practicable, a supervisor or the Watch Lieutenant should review a request for assistance from another agency to determine if assistance will be provided. NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. 301.1 PURPOSE AND SCOPE All persons deserve protection by fair and impartial law enforcement and should be able to expect similar police response to their behavior wherever it occurs. Employees will serve the public through direction, counseling, assistance, and protection of life and property. Employees will be held accountable for the manner in which they exercise the authority of their office or position. Employees will respect the rights of individuals and perform their services with honesty, sincerity, courage, and sound judgment. 400.1 PURPOSE AND SCOPE The Department has a responsibility to protect life and property and to provide service to the residents of Austin. To fulfill this obligation it must provide an appropriate response to calls. Officers should be ever mindful that they have a responsibility to use caution, good judgment, and due care when operating vehicles in an emergency capacity to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. This document describes the conditions under which an APD vehicle may be operated as an emergency vehicle. 804.2 GENERAL OPERATION OF DEPARTMENT VEHCLES (a) Employees will operate Department vehicles in a careful and prudent manner within the guidelines of the law and Department General Orders. Unsafe or negligent driving is prohibited. Recommended Classification: The OPO is permitted to make a preliminary recommendation on the classification of administrative cases. The OPO recommends this complaint receive a B classification.
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