Rantz: Seattle Police policy would let DUI suspects flee even if in stolen car

Oct 9, 2022, 12:00 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2022, 6:17 pm
seattle police policy...
Seattle police may be asked to let DUI suspects flee, even when they're in stolen cars, according to a report from The Jason Rantz Show. (Jason Rantz/AM 770 KTTH)
(Jason Rantz/AM 770 KTTH)

A draft policy mandates Seattle police allow DUI suspects to flee, even when they’re in stolen cars. And if a DUI suspect in a vehicle refuses to comply, officers must leave the scene. Some officers have already been told to follow this new guidance, according to multiple sources.

Captain Kevin Grossman in the North precinct outlined a draft policy dated Sept. 29, obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. It has caused great confusion and its effects are reverberating across the department.

In an Oct. 1 email, Grossman sent out the draft to his officers, according to a source. It’s unclear why the captain released the draft or why he wrote it in the first place. While the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has not adopted this as an official policy, one source explained officers were verbally instructed to follow it in at least one precinct. And it’s spreading unabated. 

Rantz: Democrat lawmaker claims cops are mad they ‘can’t go around killing people’

‘Phantom policy’ spreads


Some commanders told their officers to follow this as policy, according to two sources. The Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) explained to the Jason Rantz Show that at least one officer was even accused of violating the “phantom policy” to the independent oversight agency, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA). SPOG says the misconception about the policy has yet to be corrected by the department, as of Friday, October 7.

The policy, as written, is sure to be controversial and comes as the SPD aims to mitigate the risks associated with vehicular pursuits. While state law prohibits pursuits, a policy that the SPD adopted before its passage, DUI suspects are treated differently. Under the law, police may pursue suspects in vehicles if there’s reasonable suspicion of DUI because of the threat they pose on the roads.

To prevent a pursuit in the first place, officers have used a pinning maneuver where a patrol vehicle inches toward the suspect’s vehicle, making it difficult for them to drive away. Officers have had run-ins with addicts clearly high on fentanyl, sitting in running vehicles, sometimes with their foot on the brake. This poses an obvious public safety threat.

The draft policy

The pinning strategy is not always successful. If the driver wakes up and drives off, it could damage patrol vehicles or officers. But at that point, will SPD officers pursue it? Not under the draft policy.

Under the draft policy, officers are given three directives when “a driver is or appears to be passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle (whether stolen or not).” They’re told: “Treat the situation as a high-risk vehicle stop. Allow sufficient room (at least one car’s length) between the suspect vehicle and patrol vehicle to permit a path of egress for the suspect vehicle. And ensure there are sufficient officers on scene.”

If the driver flees, officers are instructed to “allow it to leave, broadcast last direction of travel, and complete an incident report.”

In cases where the driver either doesn’t respond because they’re passed out or are refusing to comply and “the only crime(s) at issue are DUI and/or Possession of a Stolen Vehicle,” the officer must, “attempt to hail the driver using voice or PA for a reasonable amount of time, and then leave the scene, and complete an incident report.”

The draft explains that the policy impetus is wanting all officers to be trained in Vehicle-Related Force Tactics. But officers say they’ve been effectively using pinning for years. 

Police reaction

Officers are upset with the draft policy, though some note that they’ve been handcuffed from doing their jobs so much already that this doesn’t phase them the way it normally would. Many speaking with the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH believe the policy results from Democrat police reform laws.

“My personal opinion on the matter is that if the state doesn’t want us to pursue people, then I am not going to risk civil or criminal liability pushing the boundaries of the law. That opinion is held by many when it comes to pursuits, traffic stops, and some Terry stops,” an officer told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

SPD is considering where they stand on the policy of pursuits in relationship to DUIs. It’s unclear if they are considering the policy outlined by Captain Grossman or if his draft is based on what the Command Staff at SPD is considering.

Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office and OPA ignored multiple requests for comment. 

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

break in...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Beloved Seattle restaurant suffers 18th break-in by thieves the Democrats enable

It's the Seattle restaurant's 18th break-in since the pandemic's start and the introduction of light-on-crime laws and policies.
22 hours ago
Seattle Fire Dept....
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Fire hired ‘anti-male’ partisan to investigate gender discrimination

The Seattle Fire Department's new Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator has been involved in two lawsuits for allegations of gender bias.
2 days ago
Frank Sumrall

Joe Kent not contesting election, but is asking for transparency

"Every time there was additional updates, it seemed like we were making progress," Kent said on The Jason Rantz Show.
2 days ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/jasonrantz...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Mayor’s top staffer slams judge for creating ‘fentanyl festival’

An influential member of Mayor Bruce Harrell's inner circle excoriated a judge for helping turn Seattle into a "fentanyl festival.”
3 days ago
Edmonds snow...
Frank Sumrall

Cliff Mass: Here’s where Seattle-area snow will hit this weekend

Another snow event is set to occur tonight into Saturday morning, but it won't equal the volume and duration of snow seen earlier this week.
5 days ago
Jason Rantz Show

Ed Troyer’s lawyer: ‘No evidence to support these criminal charges’

Is Sheriff Ed Troyer only being targeted because of his role as Pierce County Sheriff? "I do," said attorney Anne Bremner.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Rantz: Seattle Police policy would let DUI suspects flee even if in stolen car