(a) In any criminal action brought under § 31-27-4.1 or 31-27-4.2 in which a high speed pursuit occurs, the following definitions and minimal requirements of the high speed pursuit shall apply and shall be complied with by the charging police department.

Terms Used In This Law

  • jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Motor vehicle: means any vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power for use on the public streets, roads, and highways;

    (2) "Odometer" means an instrument for measuring and recording the actual distance a motor vehicle travels while in operation;

    (3) "Person" means any individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or business trust including, but not limited to, private individuals and motor vehicle dealers, both wholesale and retail, whether the private individual or dealer is a dealer in the ordinary course of business or not;

    (4) "Repair and replacement" means to restore to a sound working condition by replacing the instrument or any part thereof or by correcting what is inoperative;

    (5) "Transfer" means to acquire ownership by purchase, gift, bequest, or any other means. See Rhode Island General Laws 31-23.2-2

  • person: extends to and includes co-partnerships and bodies corporate and politic. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-6

(b) Any police department charging a suspect under the provisions of this chapter shall limit the use of continued high speed vehicular pursuits to those situations which involve:

(1) The attempted apprehension of persons wanted for the commission of felonious and/or misdemeanor acts that threaten, have threatened, or will threaten the health, life, or safety of a person or persons; or

(2) The pursuit of a motor vehicle operator who has committed flagrant moving motor vehicle violations which have endangered the lives and safety of others, and was operating in a reckless manner before the pursuit was initiated, and is continuing to operate in a manner that recklessly endangers the lives and safety of others, including, but not limited to, driving under the influence of liquor or drugs.

(c) Definition. A “high speed pursuit” is the active attempt by a police officer in an authorized emergency vehicle to apprehend the occupants of a running motor vehicle at speeds in excess of fifteen miles per hour (15 MPH) over the speed limit.

(d) Responsibilities of pursuing officer(s). Upon initiation of a high speed pursuit the officer(s) shall:

(1) As soon as practical communicate to his or her dispatcher his or her location and direction of travel.

(2) Provide the reason for the high speed pursuit.

(3) Communicate the ongoing status of the pursuit at regular intervals including any significant change of circumstances which might affect the decision to either continue or discontinue the pursuit.

(4) Activate all audio (sirens) and visual (emergency lights) warning devices until the high speed pursuit is terminated.

(5) Adhere to all the provisions of §§ 31-12-6 through 31-12-9.

(6) Terminate the high speed pursuit when in his or her judgment the dangers created by the pursuit outweigh the need for immediate apprehension.

(e) Responsibilities of the officer in charge and/or field supervisor. In all continued high speed pursuit situations, command responsibility rests with the officer in charge and/or the field supervisor. It shall be the duty of the officer in charge and/or the field supervisor to provide adequate supervision to the officer involved in the high speed pursuit and to:

(1) Track the location of the pursuit.

(2) Review and consider as many facts of the pursuit as are available.

(3) Consider the potential and real dangers of the continuation of the pursuit.

(4) Order the termination of the high speed pursuit when in his or her judgment the dangers created by the pursuit outweigh the need for immediate apprehension.

(f) Interjurisdictional pursuits. Whenever there exists the possibility of a high speed pursuit extending into another jurisdiction, the officer in charge shall order the surrounding jurisdictions to be notified of the high speed pursuit and of its potential for extending into their jurisdictions. If the high speed pursuit enters a jurisdiction different from the jurisdiction from which it began, then the high speed pursuit policy of the entered jurisdiction shall apply and control and the entered jurisdiction shall have the authority consistent with its policies to terminate the high speed pursuit. For purposes of this chapter, the state police shall have statewide jurisdiction.

(g)(1) Reports. Whenever a high speed pursuit occurs, each officer involved shall submit a written report to be kept on file of his or her participation in the pursuit and the factual reasons justifying the officer’s participation in the pursuit.

(2) The officer in charge shall also file a written report giving a complete account of the pursuit including his or her factual reason for continuing or terminating the pursuit.

(h) Each police department shall enact policies and procedures which are consistent with these minimum requirements and to provide copies of those policies to the attorney general’s department.

(i) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to create any additional civil liability upon individuals or their employers who engage in high speed pursuits.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1997, ch. 193, § 3.)