(a) The primary duty of law enforcement officers when responding to a violent crime against the elderly situation is to enforce the laws allegedly violated and to protect the victim.
Terms Used In Rhode Island General Laws 12-29.1-4
- Elderly person: means any person over the age of sixty (60) years. See Rhode Island General Laws 12-29.1-3.
- person: extends to and includes co-partnerships and bodies corporate and politic. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-6.
- Victim: means any elderly person who has been subjected to a crime of violence. See Rhode Island General Laws 12-29.1-3.
(b)(1) When a law enforcement officer responds to a violent crime against an elderly person and has probable cause to believe that a crime of violence has been committed, the officer shall exercise arrest powers pursuant to §§ 12-7-3 and 12-7-4; provided, that the officer may arrest and take into custody the alleged perpetrator of the crime when the officer has probable cause to believe that the person being arrested has committed any of the following acts:
(i) A felonious assault;
(ii) An assault which has resulted in bodily injury to the victim, whether or not the injury is observable by the responding officer;
(iii) Physical action which was intended to cause another person reasonably to fear imminent serious bodily injury or death. “Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or an impairment of physical condition;
(iv) Violation of a protective order and the violator has previous knowledge of the order and the terms of the order; or
(v) Violation of a no-contact order issued pursuant to § 12-29.1-5.
(2) The decision to arrest and charge a person under the provisions of this chapter shall not:
(i) Be dependent on the specific consent of the victim;
(ii) Consider the relationship of the parties; or
(iii) Be based solely on a request by the victim.
(3) An arrest without warrant made under this section shall be made within twenty-four (24) hours of the alleged crime.
(4) If an arrest without warrant cannot be made pursuant to this section, the officer shall advise the victim of the right to file a criminal complaint and shall seek a warrant for arrest if there is probable cause to do so.
(c) A law enforcement officer shall not be held liable for false arrest in any civil action for an arrest based on probable cause or for enforcement in good faith of a court order issued pursuant to this chapter.
(d) It shall be the responsibility of the law enforcement officer at the scene of a violent crime against the elderly to provide immediate assistance to the victim. This assistance shall include, but not be limited to, assisting the victim to obtain medical treatment if treatment is required, including transportation to an emergency medical treatment facility.
(P.L. 1998, ch. 416, § 1.)