Transporting Prisoners

A. At no time must a prisoner be transported in the back seat alone unless the patrol unit is equipped with a prisoner shield. If the vehicle has a prisoner shield, the officer may place the prisoner in an upright, seated position in the rear seat. Prisoners must be restrained with safety belts while being transported in the patrol unit unless existing condi- tions make the use of the safety belt impractical or unsafe.

1. Under no circumstances will a prisoner be left unattended or transported in a police vehicle in a prone position as this may result in positional asphyxia.

B. Two (2) officers must be required to transport a prisoner when there is a possibility of violence on the part of the pris- oner. If the primary vehicle is staffed by one officer, the second officer will follow the primary unit to the jail. The jail will be informed officers are en route with a potentially violent prisoner. When transporting any prisoner in a vehicle without a prisoner shield, there must be two (2)officers in the vehicle and the prisoner must be placed in the right rear with the assist officer sitting in the rear seat behind the driver.

1. The officer must vigilantly observe the prisoner at all times, noting any difficulty in breathing, change in color, level of consciousness, etc. If the officer observes a significant change, they must either transport the suspect to a medical facility or have paramedics called to the scene, depending on the officer’s judgement of the severity of the condition and the quickest means to receive medical attention.

2. Department provided leg restraints may be used when a prisoner is combative and/or attempting to damage city property. The following guidelines must be adhered to when using the leg restraints:

a. Leg restraints are never to be attached to the prisoner’s handcuffs.

b. When transporting a prisoner, the leg restraints are to be used in conjunction with the bolt system provided in the vehicle. Handcuffs and the vehicle lap restraint will be used in their designed manner when leg restraints are utilized.

c. A combative or destructive prisoner should be transported in a specially equipped vehicle, if available.

d. Leg restraints are to be applied outside of the vehicle.

C. Prisoners exhibiting physical exertion or believed to be suffering from any medical, physical, or emotional problem that does not require immediate medical attention must be monitored by the officer as outlined in the above paragraph.

D. Officers transporting prisoners of the opposite gender must give the mileage of the patrol unit to the dispatcher and request a transport time (10-15) upon leaving the arrest location. Upon arrival at the detention facility, the officer must give the arrival mileage and request an arrival time (10-30). Officers must immediately notify the dispatcher on all stops en route, except for short-termed traffic-related (i.e. traffic lights, train crossing, etc). When notifying the dispatcher of the unscheduled stop, the officer must provide an explanation and estimated time for the stop and notify the dispatcher when stop has concluded.

E. Female prisoners must not be transported with male prisoners unless the arrests resulted from the same offense. If a female is arrested with a male prisoner or prisoners and the patrol wagon is used for transportation, the female must be placed in front with the driver. If this is impractical due to the number of female prisoners, a patrol car must be used for their transportation.

F. Juveniles must not be transported in a patrol wagon nor must they be transported with adult prisoners unless the juve- nile and the adult were arrested in connection with the same offense or unless the adult is the parent or guardian of the juvenile.

G. Transporting prisoners exhibiting symptoms of infectious diseases.

1. Officers arresting prisoners with visible signs of infectious diseases, or persons indicating they are suffering from an infectious disease, should isolate the prisoner from other persons as much as possible. They must not be transported with other prisoners.

2. Prisoners with infectious diseases, or complaints of an infectious disease, who require emergency medical atten- tion must be transported to the hospital by ambulance. When non-emergency medical attention is required and the officer is not at risk of exposure to the infectious disease, the prisoner may be transported to the hospital in a police vehicle. Hospital personnel are to be informed that the prisoner possibly has an infectious disease.

H. Special Needs Prisoners

It is incumbent upon all personnel to safeguard the dignity, comfort, and safety of a physically-challenged person, while maintaining the security of the officers and public.

1. The term physically-challenged may include, but is not limited to, confinement to a wheelchair, use of braces, crutches, or canes, amputees, blindness, or aged.

2. If the offense committed is a Class C misdemeanor, which does not include a breach of the peace or a threat of fur- ther violence, the physically-challenged suspect must be issued a General Complaint citation, providing the sus- pect has the proper identification.

3. When transporting a physically-challenged person, proper care and tact must be used when placing the prisoner in the vehicle. The prisoner’s wheelchair, crutches, or prosthetic appliance must be secured by the officer and transported along with the prisoner to the holding facility. All other procedures must apply as with non physi- cally-challenged persons.

a. If the arrested person requires any special cushions, padding or devices, the officer must ensure these are transported with the arrested person to the holding facility.
b. Prosthetic appliances, crutches, and wheelchairs must be examined to ensure that they do not contain or con- ceal any weapons, contraband, or have removable parts. The arresting officer must advise holding facility personnel if any removable parts are discovered.
c. If an officer arrests a person who is utilizing a motorized three-wheeled cart, the motorized cart will be left at the residence. If the arrest is not made at a residence, the officer must attempt to contact a friend or relative of the prisoner to take custody of the motorized cart. If a responsible person is not available to take custody of the cart, the motorized cart will be taken to the Police Auto Pound for safekeeping. Amanual wheelchair will be made available for the prisoner’s use upon arrival at the holding facility.

4. When the arrested person is accompanied by a service animal, officers must contact a person identified by the ar- rested person or a local contact agency for the service animal to take custody of the service animal. The service animal may be taken into custody only when the service animal cannot be turned over at the scene of the arrest to a responsible person, either a person named by the arrested person or a local contact agency for the service animal.
NOTE: For the safety of the service animal, it is strongly recommended that the arrested person leave the service an- imal with a trusted friend, family member, or special caretaker.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez