13.030 - Emergency Vehicle Operations

Effective Date: 03/01/2018


1. Defining Emergency response

Emergency Response: When an officer operates an authorized police vehicle in a manner that is substantially outside of a normal traffic pattern.

2. Officers May Drive in an Emergency Response Only When the Need Outweighs the Risk

The preservation of life is the highest priority.  Criminal apprehension and the preservation of property are secondary.

Misdemeanor or property crimes do not justify an emergency response unless:

- Responding to an in-progress crime, or

- Where there is a legitimate concern for the preservation of life.

3. Officers Shall Modify Their Emergency Response When Appropriate

Emergency driving shall be modified or terminated:

As ordered by a supervisor;


When the totality of the circumstances indicates the risk of continuing the emergency driving outweighs the need;

The officer’s decision shall be reviewed based on the information available to them at the time.

4. Officers Use Emergency Lights for Emergency Response

Officers will use audible signals when necessary to warn others of the emergency nature of the situation -See RCW 46.61.035

5. Officers Are Responsible for the Safe Operation of Their Police Vehicle

Officers are not relieved of the obligation to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons.

Officers will drive no faster than reasonably necessary to safely arrive at the scene.

6. Officers Will Not Escort Private Vehicles in an Emergency Response

7. Officers May Use a Police Vehicle Equipped with Emergency Lights and Push Bars to Move a Disabled Vehicle

Officers will update CAD with the driver’s information.

Officers will use ICV or BWV to record the driver’s consent to having their vehicle pushed.


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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