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Houston Police Department General Order Subj High Risk Vehiclle Approaches 1987

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Houston Police Department

o

NO.

ISSUE DATE:

November 17, 1987

600-34

REFERENCE: Supersedes all prior departmental

directi yes on this subject

SUBJECT: HIGH-RISK VEHICLE APPROACHES

PURPOSE
The purpose of this General Order is to decrease the likelihood of injury to both
officers and citizens resulting from the need to apprehend high-risk suspects that are
contained in a vehicle.
BACKGROUND
The Houston Police Department has identified two situations that pose a particularly
high risk to both officers and citizens:

•

a.

Vehicle approaches by officers attempting apprehension of armed or possibly
armed suspects

b.

Vehicle approaches by officers subsequent to a fresh pursuit where some, or all
of the occupants, remain inside the vehicle.

o\rmed suspects in a vehicle have a superior tactical position with respect to officers
attempt 109 an approach. In addition, the approaching officers' line-oi-sight may be
disrupted by window tinting or the vehicle itself. The inability to view the occupants
of a vehicle poses an extreme hazard to approaching officers as well as vehicle
occupants.
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HIGH-RISK VEHICLE APPROACH SITUATIONS
High-risk vehicle approach situations are when suspects in a vehicle are being
confronted by officers and:

•

a.

Suspects are believed to possess deadly weapons.

b.

Suspects are believed to have been involved in criminal activity involving the use
of deadly weapons.

c.

As a result of having engaged officers in fresh pursuit, as defined by General
Order 600-4•

ISSUE DATE: November 17, 1987

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PAGE #

2

PROCEDURES
In the above situations officers will adhere to the following guidelines:
a.

Attempt to establish verbal communications with suspects, while maintaining a
position of advantage.

b.

If verbal communications can be established, have the suspects exit the vehicle
one at a time, using verbal commands.

c.

Each suspect should be secured before others are made to exit the suspect
vehicle.

It is obvious that, on many occasions, the actions of HIGH-RISK suspects will not
allow officers to maintain a position of advantage or establish verbal communications
(i.e., when suspects flee on foot). The HIGH-RISK suspects' actions will dictate
whether or not this policy can be used to enhance safety. If HIGH-RISK suspects
refuse to comply with verbal commands given by officers maintaining a position of
advantage (i.e., flee on foot), officers should then use their own discretion to make
the apprehension in accordance with existing departmental procedures. The officers
must have a back-up unit before attempting the arrest of HIGH-RISK suspects who
refuse to exit a vehicle. A supervisor will make all scenes where a suspect's refusal.
to exit a vehicle has required the use of a back-up unit.

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