State Policy On Police Pursuits

In the wake of yesterday’s carjacking, questions have been raised about state rules regarding police pursuits.

According to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Administration and Operations Manual:

(1) A trooper or police officer may only engage in a vehicle pursuit if he or she has reasonable suspicion to believe the driver or occupant(s) of the pursued vehicle has committed, is attempting to commit or will imminently commit a crime of violence (actual or threatened), or there are articulable exigent
circumstances that warrant the need to apprehend the suspect in a timely manner because of the potential for harm to the public if apprehension does not occur.

(a) Infractions, property crimes (including stolen vehicles) and non-violent misdemeanors and felonies are not cause to engage in pursuit, absent articulable exigent circumstances.

1. The act of eluding alone by a violator shall not constitute justification to engage in a pursuit of such a violator.

(2) A pursuit shall not be automatically undertaken, even if otherwise allowed by subsection (1) of this policy immediately above. A trooper or police officer shall make an objectively reasonable determination to engage in or continue a vehicle pursuit based on an assessment that the immediate danger to the trooper or police officer and the public created by the pursuit is less than the immediate
or potential danger to the public should the vehicle occupants remain at large. Such a determination shall be based on the following factors:

(a) The underlying crime for which the suspect is being pursued (e.g. whether the crime is a violent felony versus a property crime);
(b) The actions of the violator vehicle;
(c) Whether the identity of the suspect is known to the point where later apprehension is possible;
(d) Volume, type, speed and direction of vehicular traffic, including the vehicle pursued;
(e) Nature of and familiarity with the area (e.g. residential, commercial, school zone, limited access highway);
(f) Environmental factors (e.g. weather, darkness, lighting, visibility);
(g) Road conditions (e.g. roadway topography, road surface condition, work zone, traffic controls, ice);
(h) Population density and volume of pedestrian and bicycle traffic;
(i) Police vehicle capability and condition;
(j) Type of vehicle being pursued;
(k) The pursuing trooper or police officer knows, or reasonably believes the operator of the fleeing vehicle is a juvenile; and
(l) The perceived mindset of the violator, if known, and their ability to properly assess the dangerousness of their actions during the course of pursuit.
(3) The factors listed in subsection (2) above shall be continuously reassessed for the duration of the pursuit.

Click here to read the entire section on Vehicle Pursuits.

3 responses to “State Policy On Police Pursuits

  1. Hi Dan,

    What are the rules or laws regarding what actions the victim of a carjacking crime can lawfully engage in at the time of the crime?

    Is there a difference between whether the criminals are openly armed or not?


    • In CT you are justified in using “reasonable” physical force upon another person to defend yourself or another person from what you reasonably believe is the use or imminent use of physical force (so you can respond with the same kind of force the aggressor is doing to you or you reasonably believe he is threatening to do to you, or someone next to you). If he is armed and waving a gun at you that’s a pretty good case for being threatened with deadly physical force.

      All scenarios require the aggressor to be using force (or you reasonably believe has threatened to use force) against you; you cannot use reasonable force to merely defend your property if no harm is threatened against you (i.e. I can’t shoot someone, or even club him and hurt him badly, after I discover him running away from my house with my flat screen under his arm if he poses no threat to me).

  2. can someone please clarify if this POLICY is just that of the state police? the real question is what does the LAW allow and not allow. it should become clear if the issue with breaking off pursuits is based on LAW, POLICY, or way in which police departments are instructing their officers to act. remember POLICY is NOT LAW.

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