OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Police Department is tightening up its pursuit policy, limiting police pursuits to certain criteria.

A new OKCPD procedure policy is now in effect, mandating rules that officers must abide by while driving in traffic and pursuing suspects.

The new policy laid out Code 3 response guidelines, which involves using emergency lights and audible sirens/signals.

The policy states that an officer may use a Code 3 response during the following circumstances:

  1. In an emergency situation where the prevention of bodily injury to a person may be accomplished by
    the immediate presence of the responding officer;
  2. When responding to a felony crime in progress where there is information the suspect(s) is/are in the
    immediate vicinity of the crime; or
  3. When responding to a vehicle pursuit, in accordance with the provisions set forth in Procedure 220.10.

Officers must not exceed the following restrictions while responding to a Code 3:

  1. When traveling on City streets, officers will not exceed the speed limit by more than 15 mph.
  2. When traveling on interstates, divided highways or turnpikes, officers will not exceed the speed limit
    by more than 25 mph.
  3. When traveling through active school zones, officers will not exceed the speed limit.

An officer must give “strong justification” to exceed Code 3 restrictions, “such as a call or incident that may involve imminent loss of life or officer distress, the policy states.”

The policy also sets restrictions on when an officer must terminate a pursuit of a suspect involved in a property crime or traffic offense. Those restrictions are as follows:

  1. When entering an active school zone;
  2. When entering an active construction zone with workers present;
  3. When adverse road conditions are present as a result of weather, poor repair or surface type;
  4. When pedestrian traffic is present in the area;
  5. When the identity of the violator is known;
  6. When officers know of and have access to, or can later access, information from a GPS tracking device
    on the suspect or the vehicle;
  7. When the suspect’s driving behavior is such that it endangers the public or officer(s), to include:
    a. Excessive speeds;
    b. Disregard for traffic control devices at intersections;
    c. Driving into the oncoming lanes of traffic; or
    d. Driving off-road,

“Continued pursuit of a suspect when any of the above-listed provisions are met will require strong justification and the authorization of the managing supervisor. In these instances, the supervisor must be able to document specific facts that show the decision to continue pursuing was objectively reasonable under the circumstances,” the policy states.

Officers are required to consider terminating a pursuit involving property crime or a traffic offense if the pursuit goes into a neighborhood where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.

“Officers must evaluate the unique characteristics of the residential area (e.g., number of cars parked in the roadway, width of streets, density of traffic, number of traffic control devices/signs) to determine if they can safely continue pursuit,” the policy states.

OKCPD’s full procedure policy is featured below: