General Order 71.1
TRANSPORT OPERATIONS

Last Revised: 11/1/03

SUBJECT: TRANSPORT OPERATIONS

This order consists of the following numbered sections:

71.1.1    Pre-transport prisoner search

71.1.2    Searching prisoner transport vehicles

71.1.3    Prisoner transport procedures - vehicles

71.1.4    Maintaining visual contact with prisoners

71.1.5    Prisoner communication during transport

71.1.6    Prisoner transport procedures - facilities

71.1.7    Prisoner escape procedures

71.1.8    Notification of prisoner security hazard

71.1.9    Prisoner restraint during transport

71.1.10    Transporting prisoners of the opposite sex

71.1.11    Transporting sick, injured or disabled prisoners

71.1.12    Security of prisoners in medical care facilities

71.1.13    Transporting prisoners in other special situations

71.1.14    Transport vehicle equipment

71.1.15    Special use vehicles - jail van

71.1.16    Transport vehicle security modifications

71.1.17    Transport documentation and prisoner identity verification

71.1.1 Pre-transport prisoner search

I.    The officer transporting a prisoner is accountable for searching the prisoner for weapons, other dangerous objects/items and contraband, and for assuming control of any property seized in such a search.

II.    The transporting officer does not to assume either that a search was made by another officer, or that the results of such a search were negative.

III.    The transporting officer searches a prisoner each time that prisoner comes into his/her custody for transportation (including transports to and from court appearances, medical appointments, jails, etc.).

71.1.2 Searching prisoner transport vehicles

I.    The transporting officer conducts a search of the prisoner compartment of the transporting police vehicle both prior to and after the prisoner is transported.

II.    Each officer who uses a vehicle that is authorized for prisoner transportation searches the prisoner compartment of that vehicle both at the beginning and end of each of his/her shifts.

III.    Any weapon, contraband or other property located in a transport vehicle search is marked, tagged and properly booked. A report documenting the search is completed by the searching employee.

71.1.3 Prisoner transport procedures

I.    Automobiles/SUVs

A.    Prisoners are transported by police vehicle to a booking/processing area as soon as practical following arrest.

B.    Prisoners are placed in the rear seat of the police vehicle, properly handcuffed and seatbelted into place. [see 71.1.9(II)]

C.    Transporting of prisoners is done in accordance with accepted officer/prisoner safety practices and training.

D.    Vehicles not equipped with a cage or shield should be used to transport prisoners only in circumstances where no alternatives are reasonably available.

E.    Unless otherwise directed, a transporting officer takes the most direct route to his/her destination.

F.    When transporting prisoners of the opposite gender, the transporting officer advises CAPCOM of the time and vehicle odometer reading at the beginning and end of the transport.

II.    Jail van

A.    Prisoners may be transported by jail van to the OPD booking/processing area, County Jail or another destination either as soon as practical following arrest or in time to attend court, medical or custody transfer appointments, as appropriate.

B.    When being transported in the jail van, prisoners are located in available seats in the caged area of the van, properly handcuffed and seatbelted into place. [see 71.1.9(II)]

C.    The number of prisoners transported at one time shall not exceed the number of seatbelt sets in the caged area of the van.

D.    When transporting prisoners of the opposite gender, the transporting officer advises CAPCOM of the time and vehicle odometer reading at the beginning and end of the transport.

III.    Public transportation

A.    Prisoners are transported on public transportation only with prior authorization from the Chief of Police.

B.    Prisoners are transported aboard commercial carriers only under the following conditions:

1.    When a prisoner is being escorted by two or more officers;

2.    When officers escorting a prisoner have coordinated the transportation, in advance, with a representative designated by the carrier;

3.    When officers escorting a prisoner are in possession of Department-issued photo identification cards and badges.

4.    When officers escorting a prisoner on any commercial carrier are in possession of adequate restraining devices for use if the prisoner becomes unruly.

5.    When no more than one prisoner is being transported on any one trip.

6.    When a flight carrying officers and a prisoner has FAA air security specialists aboard, the involved airline notifies the specialists of the presence and seat locations of the officers and prisoner, and assures that the officers are aware of the presence of the security specialists.

IV.    General transportation procedures

A.    Stops are generally not made during prisoner transports.

B.    The primary duty of a transporting officer is the safe delivery of the prisoner(s) in his/her care. Therefore, a transporting officer does not stop to render law enforcement assistance while engaged in transport of prisoners, except under extreme emergency conditions where the risk to the lives of others is clear and grave and the risk to the prisoner(s) is minimal. If the transporting officer determines that exceptional conditions exist, he/she may stop to assist, provided that CAPCOM or the appropriate local authorities are immediately notified of the following:

1.    The identity of the officer;

2.    The officer’s status (prisoner transportation);

3.    The nature and location of the incident.

C.    A transporting officer stopping for emergency assist as described in 71.1.3(IV.A) shall, prior to rendering assistance, assure that his/her prisoners are safe and fully secured in the transport vehicle. In such circumstances, the transporting officer is only to render those services essential to preserving life and is only to remain at the scene until other emergency assistance arrives.

D.    Transporting officers shall not become involved in pursuits or any other law enforcement activity that might create a risk of harm to prisoners.

71.1.4 Maintaining visual contact with prisoners

I.    Transporting officers maintain visual observation of prisoners at all times while in transit.

II.    In the rare event that a trip of extended length is required, the locations for necessary meal and/or rest stops are chosen at random.

A.    At no time does the transporting officer to lose sight of the prisoner(s).

B.    On trips of extended length, a female officer accompanies female prisoners whenever possible.

71.1.5 Prisoner communication during transport

I.    Generally, the safety aspects of the transportation function make it so that a prisoner’s rights to communicate with attorneys, clergy, family and/or others do not normally need to be exercised while the prisoner is being transported.

II.    Transporting officers may record the period of time a prisoner is in transit, provided the following criteria are met:

A.    The prisoner is notified, on tape, that the transit period will be tape recorded;

B.    The prisoner is advised, on tape, of his/her rights;

C.    The prisoner is advised, on tape, that the transporting officer will not be conducting an interview or asking questions related to the prisoner’s arrest while in transit.

III.    Prisoners are not permitted to make phone calls while being readied for transport or while in transit.

71.1.6 Prisoner transport procedures - facilities

When delivering prisoners to other institutions or agencies, transporting officers follow all of the procedures and protocols required by those institutions and agencies. At minimum, those procedures and protocols include the following:

I.    Securing firearms for safekeeping in an area designated by the receiving agency;

II.    Removing in-transit restraints only in areas designated for the purpose by the receiving agency;

III.    Delivering all documentation required for the transfer of custody (including charging information to verify a ’hold’ on an prisoner);

IV.    Obtaining the signature of the receiving officer to verify the transfer of custody, as necessary.

71.1.7 Prisoner escape procedures

Should a prisoner escape while being transported, the following actions are taken:

I.    The transporting officer immediately notifies CAPCOM and the on-duty supervisor of the incident by telephone or radio;

II.    The transporting officer initiates recovery efforts only in the following circumstances:

A.    When no other prisoners remain in custody in the transport vehicle; and

B.    When there is a second transport officer present or a back-up officer has arrived at the scene.

III.    The on-duty supervisor, depending on the circumstances of the escape, may take additional action, including, but not limited to, the following:

A.    Notify and/or request assistance from other police agencies (e.g., agencies at/near the point of escape or the agency of jurisdiction at the last known address of the escapee);

B.    Send other units to the scene to assist in recovery;

C.    Call out the Police Service Dog Unit for tracking assistance;

D.    Advise the PIO of the incident and initiate public information regarding the incident.

IV.    The transporting officer prepares a report documenting an escape incident. Additionally, the on-duty supervisor completes a Supervisor’s Checklist for incident review.

71.1.8 Notification of prisoner security hazard

I.    When a prisoner who is considered to be a high security risk is transported to any court, institution or agency, the transporting officer notifies the judge or official representative of the receiving institution or agency of the situation, and suggests that additional safeguards be taken in the handling of the high-risk prisoner.

II.    When a security risk notification is issued, the transporting officer documents the issuance of the notice, the date and time of issuance, and the person to whom the notification was given in the jail log.

71.1.9 Prisoner restraint during transport

I.    Policy

The transportation of prisoners is accomplished using the degree of restraint deemed reasonably necessary by the transporting officer to safely complete the task. It is presumed that, at minimum, reasonable necessity for safe prisoner transport includes the restriction of a prisoner’s ability to use his/her hands.

II.    Procedure

A.    During transport, all prisoners shall be properly handcuffed (minimum restraint).

B.    Exceptions may be made when special transport conditions are present.

C.    Other special circumstances may arise which make an exception to the transport restraint policy prudent. Whenever an exception to the policy is made, the transport exception procedure applies.

D.    Transport exception procedure

1.    Whenever a prisoner is transported without the use of minimum restraint he/she shall be accompanied by at least two (2) officers.

2.    Only a police vehicle equipped with a cage or shield shall be used to transport a prisoner without minimum restraint.

3.    No prisoner shall be transported without minimum restraint in the company of another prisoner.

E.    All arrested persons being transported in a police vehicle shall be properly secured with a seat belt. Exceptions may be made for combative prisoners, or prisoners who are at risk of injuring themselves because of seatbelt restraint.

F.    The use of leg restraints when transporting prisoners is permissible when such restraint is deemed necessary for the safe conduct of the transport. Factors to be considered before using leg shackles include:

1.    Nature of the charges;

2.    Escape potential;

3.    The risk of harm to self or others;

4.    Court requirements.

G.    Transporting prisoners in a “hog-tied” and/or face down position is not permitted, unless absolutely necessary. When such restraint is used, the transport exception procedure is used, with one officer having the sole responsibility of monitoring the safety of the prisoner, and full documentation of the incident, including a Supervisor’s Checklist, is required.

H.    Prisoners shall not be handcuffed to any part of a transport vehicle, except in an emergency situation where no other alternative exists. If such an emergency arises, full documentation of the incident, including a Supervisor’s Checklist, is required.

71.1.10 Transporting prisoners of the opposite sex

Employees are routinely required to transport prisoners of the opposite sex. The sexual harassment of prisoners by employees is strictly prohibited in transit or at any other time. Communications safeguards (as described in 71.1.3) are followed regardless of the sex of the prisoner(s) being transported.

71.1.11 Transporting sick, injured or disabled prisoners

I.    Prisoners who are physically ill or injured

A.    As a general rule, medical vehicles (ambulances or medic vans) are to be used to transport a prisoner who is seriously ill or injured to medical care facilities where they can be examined, treated and, if necessary, admitted.

B.    When a prisoner’s illness or injury is not serious enough to warrant emergency medical attention, he/she may be transported in a police vehicle to a medical care facility to obtain a medical clearance.

C.    Prisoners who are physically ill or injured are not booked into the Olympia City Jail without a medical clearance or written proof that an EMT/paramedic has determined that he/she is not in need of medical attention.

D.    Olympia City Jail policies govern the transport of prisoners who become physically ill or injured while in Jail custody.

II.    Prisoners who are mentally ill

Prisoners who are mentally ill may present a need for special care from transporting officers. While it is often difficult to know the issues involved with mentally ill prisoners, consideration should be given to the following factors in determining appropriate transport decisions:

A.    Risk of harm to self or others;

B.    Evidence of prescribed medication;

C.    Evidence of self-medication (illegal drugs/alcohol);

D.    If the prisoner is active to a mental health case worker, whether that case worker can be readily contacted;

E.    Evidence of or a claim of chronic physical illness.

III.    Prisoners who are physically disabled.

The presence of the physical disability of a prisoner does not exempt the transporting officer from adhering to Department policy regarding restraint. [see 71.1.9] It does require reasonable attention to using methods of restraint that are both effective and humane in protecting the safety of the prisoner and the officer. Consideration should be given to the following factors in determining appropriate transport decisions for physically disabled prisoners:

A.    A disabled prisoner who requires the use of a wheel chair may be transported in a police vehicle as long as the officer is satisfied that the transport can be done safely. The jail van, if available, may be used if transport in an automobile or SUV is deemed unsafe for the purpose.

B.    Prisoners with prosthetic devices may be transported in police vehicles. In such cases prosthetic devices are searched prior to transport. Restraining prisoners wearing prosthetic devices frequently requires ingenuity and a genuine concern for safety of both the prisoner and the officer.

IV.    The restraint techniques used to assure the safe transport of an ill, injured, mentally ill or disabled prisoner are not to interfere with the prisoner’s ability to balance or protect himself/herself during transport.

V.    Prior to transporting an ill, injured, mentally ill or physically disabled prisoner to a custodial facility, the transporting officer contacts the receiving facility and advises them of the prisoner’s condition so that any special arrangements may be made at the facility prior to the prisoner’s arrival.

VI.    Wheelchairs or crutches may be transported in the police vehicle, but are not placed in that portion of the vehicle used to confine the prisoner.

VII.    If, in the opinion of the transporting officer, a prisoner is too physically and/or mentally disabled to be safely transported in a police vehicle, the officer should consult with the on-duty supervisor to determine acceptable alternatives.

VIII.    Any prisoner in police custody for a criminal offense who is transported in an ambulance is accompanied in the ambulance by an officer.

IX.    A prisoner who is ill or injured at the time of arrest is transported to and offered treatment at a local medical care facility prior to being transported to the booking and processing area.

X.    If a physically ill or injured prisoner refuses treatment from a health care professional, or if a prisoner demonstrates evidence of mental illness that could constitute a danger to self or others, the transporting officer contacts a County Designated Mental Health Professional (CDMHP) to respond to the medical care facility (or the Jail, in the case of mental illness) for a civil commitment evaluation per RCW 71.05.

71.1.12 Security of prisoners in medical care facilities

I.    Policy

When a prisoner is transported to a local hospital or medical care facility for any reason, caution will be taken to ensure that the prisoner is isolated, as best possible, from other patients and is not permitted to escape the immediate control of the transporting officer.

An officer responsible for prisoner security at a medical care facility shall cooperate with the health care professionals providing treatment to the prisoner in every way, provided that the requested cooperation does not compromise the officer’s responsibility to assure the prisoner’s safety and prevent the prisoner’s escape from custody.

Should conflicts arise between medical necessity and maintenance of custody, medical necessity shall prevail, provided that every reasonable precaution is taken to limit the risk to custodial integrity.

II.    Procedure

A.    The transporting officer removes transport restraints only when necessary or when requested by attending health care professionals.

B.    Without interfering with the attending health care professionals, the transporting officer maintains reasonable security over the prisoner during the examination, treatment and assessment process.

C.    If a prisoner is examined, treated and released from the medical care facility, the transporting officer delivers the prisoner directly to the booking and processing area.

D.    If a prisoner needs to be admitted to the hospital, the transporting officer notifies the on-duty supervisor of the circumstances and the following procedures apply:

1.    The transporting officer remains at the medical care facility until he/she is relieved by another officer or is instructed to leave by a supervisor;

2.    The on-duty supervisor makes immediate arrangements for appropriate security for the prisoner to cover the first day the prisoner is in the hospital and notifies the Team Lieutenant of the circumstances.

3.    The Team Lieutenant evaluates the situation and arranges for appropriate security of the prisoner for the balance of the prisoner’s stay in the hospital.

E.    The Jail does not assume responsibility for security of a prisoner until he/she is accepted for booking and processing. [see Jail Policies]

71.1.13 Transporting prisoners in other special situations

I.    Policy

Prisoners who are granted temporary release by a court for unusual circumstances - such as attending funerals, visiting a critically ill relative or attending the reading of a will - may be required to have an officer escort. Under such special release orders, the circumstances pose an extraordinary risk to the officer(s) providing transportation and security during that release. As a general rule, the Department refrains from transporting prisoners in such circumstances. However, if so ordered by a court, the Department will provide transport and security in such circumstances, provided that the court is cooperative with the Department’s policies regarding special release prisoner transport and security.

II.    Procedure

A.    Prisoners remain restrained at all times during transport. [see 71.1.9(II)]

B.    Prisoners remain restrained (handcuffs, leg restraints, if warranted) throughout the period of special release, unless the court order specifically directs otherwise.

C.    If restraints are to be removed at any time, all necessary precautions are taken by the securing officers and removal occurs only in the manner and for the time period specified in the court order.

D.    Special release details are assigned to two or more officers.

E.    Prisoners are not left unattended at any time and do not have personal contact with any person during the period of special release, unless the court order specifically directs otherwise.

71.1.14 Transport vehicle equipment

The Olympia Police Department equips marked police vehicles with a safety cage or shield to separate the driver’s compartment from the prisoner transport area and to prevent prisoners from having access to the front seat. The installed equipment does not impair observation of the transport area or impede verbal exchange between the driver’s compartment and the prisoner transport area.

71.1.15 Special use vehicles - jail van

The Department uses a van for transportation of prisoners.

I.    The jail van is utilized exclusively by detention personnel, unless another operator is designated by the jail supervisor or the on-duty supervisor.

II.    The jail van contains all equipment necessary for the safe and secure transport of prisoners.

III.    The jail van is used for transport of prisoners who have already been booked, processed and incarcerated, except in such special circumstances as may be authorized by the Watch Commander or Jail Supervisor.

71.1.16 Transport vehicle security modifications

All marked police vehicles are modified so that window controls and door handles are inoperable from the prisoner transport area (rear seat).

71.1.17 Transport documentation and prisoner identity verification

I.    The employee transporting a prisoner to a court or any other facility is responsible for verifying the identity of the prisoner prior to initiating the transport.

II.    Verification of identity is accomplished by comparing a prisoner’s observed physical appearance with his/her booking photograph, or by any other method that assures the officer of the correct identity of the prisoner being transported.

III.    When transporting a prisoner to another detention facility, the transporting officer brings all documentation necessary for transfer of custody and the prisoner’s personal property.

A.    If a prisoner is transported to court, all necessary documentation is provided when the prisoner is delivered to the custody of the court.

B.    If a prisoner is transported to Thurston County Jail, the transporting officer completes a County booking form which lists the prisoner’s name, personal information and relevant criminal charges (including the reason for a ’hold’ on the prisoner). The County booking form is given to the booking officer at the County Jail along with the prisoner’s personal property.

C.    Potential security risks presented by a prisoner are documented and forwarded to the receiving court/facility with the transporting officer. This information includes advisement of escape/suicide risk and/or information regarding health hazards.

IV.    When receiving a prisoner from another jurisdiction for transport, the transporting officer is responsible for securing all documentation necessary for transfer of custody. The transporting officer is also responsible for ascertaining if a prisoner being received presents an escape/suicide risk or a health hazard.