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Seattle Police Officers Banned From Conducting Vehicle Pursuits Without Specific Training

Published: May 4, 2023
A resident complains to a Seattle policeman while on 3rd Avenue on March 11, 2022 in downtown Seattle, Washington. (Image: John Moore/Getty Images)

Effective May 3, amidst record high crime, officers with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) are now no longer allowed to engage in a vehicle pursuit of a suspected criminal unless the officer undergoes specific training due to the passing of Washington State Senate Bill 5352.

According to a tweet by Jason Rantz of KTTH Radio, Seattle Police Chief Adiran Diaz announced, “Effective immediately, no SPD officer may engage in a pursuit unless the officer involved in the pursuit has been trained in EVOC (or EVOC update within the last two years) and has been previously trained in the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) while employed by the Seattle Police Department.”

The Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) is a minimum seven hour course which trains officers on defensive driving principles, driving techniques, professional police driving, pursuit driving basics and vehicle safety, according to Police One Academy

The Pursuit Intervention Technique, PIT, was developed from the “bump-and-run” technique in stock car racing. 

“A trailing vehicle bumps the rear of another vehicle slightly from the side, causing the tires to lose traction and forcing the driver to slow down or correct the direction of the vehicle,” according to experts.

In a statement provided to KOMO News, the SPD said, “With the passing of the Washington State Senate Bill 5352, the Seattle Police Department is complying with the new legislation restrictions while working to better understand the,. SPD is conferring with other agencies, the Criminal Justice Training Commission, and the City’s Attorney’s Office to ensure that SPD’s pursuit policy remains consistent with all laws and that SPD officers have the training and tools they need to conduct pursuits under the new standards.”


According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nationwide, crashes during law enforcement pursuits between 1996 and 2015 claimed the lives of more than 7,000 people, or around 355 people a year on average.

As of August last year the SPD had approximately 1,200 sworn officers and it is unclear how many lack the training required. It is also unclear what impact the new training requirements will have on the department’s ability to operate.

As of February this year, violent crime in the city hit a 15-year high according to the SPD’s Crime Report 2022.

The city saw violent crimes increase by four percent from 2021 to 2022 with homicides increasing a staggering 24 percent. The majority of homicides were due to gun violence.

In 2022, 73 percent of the city’s 55 homicides were due to gun violence and shootings and shots-fired events beat 2021’s all-time high.
“In 2022, there were 39 fatal shootings, 157 nonfatal shootings and 543 verified shots-fired reports, compared to 32, 142 and 446, respectively, in 2021. This is a 125% increase compared to totals in 2019,” the Seattle Times reported.