2005 California Vehicle Code Sections 17000-17004.7 Article 1. Public Agencies
17000. As used in this chapter: (a) "Employee" includes an officer, employee, or servant, whether or not compensated, but does not include an independent contractor. (b) "Employment" includes office or employment. (c) "Public entity" includes the state, the Regents of the University of California, a county, city, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public corporation in the state. 17001. A public entity is liable for death or injury to person or property proximately caused by a negligent or wrongful act or omission in the operation of any motor vehicle by an employee of the public entity acting within the scope of his employment. 17002. Subject to Article 4 (commencing with Section 825) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code, a public entity is liable for death or injury to person or property to the same extent as a private person under the provisions of Article 2 (commencing with Section 17150) of this chapter. 17004. A public employee is not liable for civil damages on account of personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property resulting from the operation, in the line of duty, of an authorized emergency vehicle while responding to an emergency call or when in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm or other emergency call. 17004.5. Any private firm or corporation, or employee thereof, which maintains a fire department and has entered into a mutual aid agreement pursuant to Section 13855, 14095, or 14455.5 of the Health and Safety Code shall have the same immunity from liability for civil damages on account of personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property resulting from the operation of an authorized emergency vehicle while responding to, but not upon returning from, a fire alarm or other emergency call as is provided by law for the district and its employees with which the firm or corporation has entered into a mutual aid agreement, except when the act or omission causing the personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property occurs on property under the control of such firm or corporation. 17004.7. (a) The immunity provided by this section is in addition to any other immunity provided by law. The adoption of a policy by a public agency pursuant to this section is discretionary. (b) A public agency employing peace officers that adopts a written policy on vehicular pursuits complying with subdivision (c) is immune from liability for civil damages for personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property resulting from the collision of a vehicle being operated by an actual or suspected violator of the law who is being, has been, or believes he or she is being or has been, pursued in a motor vehicle by a peace officer employed by the public entity. (c) If the public entity has adopted a policy for the safe conduct of vehicular pursuits by peace officers, it shall meet all of the following minimum standards: (1) It provides that, if available, there be supervisory control of the pursuit. (2) It provides procedures for designating the primary pursuit vehicle and for determining the total number of vehicles to be permitted to participate at one time in the pursuit. (3) It provides procedures for coordinating operations with other jurisdictions. (4) It provides guidelines for determining when the interests of public safety and effective law enforcement justify a vehicular pursuit and when a vehicular pursuit should not be initiated or should be terminated. (d) A determination of whether a policy adopted pursuant to subdivision (c) complies with that subdivision is a question of law for the court. (e) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2007, and, as of January 1, 2008, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2008, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed. 17004.7. (a) The immunity provided by this section is in addition to any other immunity provided by law. The adoption of a vehicle pursuit policy by a public agency pursuant to this section is discretionary. (b) (1) A public agency employing peace officers that adopts and promulgates a written policy on, and provides regular and periodic training on an annual basis for, vehicular pursuits complying with subdivisions (c) and (d) is immune from liability for civil damages for personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property resulting from the collision of a vehicle being operated by an actual or suspected violator of the law who is being, has been, or believes he or she is being or has been, pursued in a motor vehicle by a peace officer employed by the public entity. (2) Promulgation of the written policy under paragraph (1) shall include, but is not limited to, a requirement that all peace officers of the public agency certify in writing that they have received, read, and understand the policy. The failure of an individual officer to sign a certification shall not be used to impose liability on an individual officer or a public entity. (c) A policy for the safe conduct of motor vehicle pursuits by peace officers shall meet all of the following minimum standards: (1) Determine under what circumstances to initiate a pursuit. The policy shall define a "pursuit," articulate the reasons for which a pursuit is authorized, and identify the issues that should be considered in reaching the decision to pursue. It should also address the importance of protecting the public and balancing the known or reasonably suspected offense, and the apparent need for immediate capture against the risks to peace officers, innocent motorists, and others to protect the public. (2) Determine the total number of law enforcement vehicles authorized to participate in a pursuit. Establish the authorized number of law enforcement units and supervisors who may be involved in a pursuit, describe the responsibility of each authorized unit and the role of each peace officer and supervisor, and specify if and when additional units are authorized. (3) Determine the communication procedures to be followed during a pursuit. Specify pursuit coordination and control procedures and determine assignment of communications responsibility by unit and organizational entity. (4) Determine the role of the supervisor in managing and controlling a pursuit. Supervisory responsibility shall include management and control of a pursuit, assessment of risk factors associated with a pursuit, and when to terminate a pursuit. (5) Determine driving tactics and the circumstances under which the tactics may be appropriate. (6) Determine authorized pursuit intervention tactics. Pursuit intervention tactics include, but are not limited to, blocking, ramming, boxing, and roadblock procedures. The policy shall specify under what circumstances and conditions each approved tactic is authorized to be used. (7) Determine the factors to be considered by a peace officer and supervisor in determining speeds throughout a pursuit. Evaluation shall take into consideration public safety, peace officer safety, and safety of the occupants in a fleeing vehicle. (8) Determine the role of air support, where available. Air support shall include coordinating the activities of resources on the ground, reporting on the progress of a pursuit, and providing peace officers and supervisors with information to evaluate whether or not to continue the pursuit. (9) Determine when to terminate or discontinue a pursuit. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to, all of the following: (A) Ongoing evaluation of risk to the public or pursuing peace officer. (B) The protection of the public, given the known or reasonably suspected offense and apparent need for immediate capture against the risks to the public and peace officers. (C) Vehicular or pedestrian traffic safety and volume. (D) Weather conditions. (E) Traffic conditions. (F) Speeds. (G) Availability of air support. (H) Procedures when an offender is identified and may be apprehended at a later time or when the location of the pursuit vehicle is no longer known. (10) Determine procedures for apprehending an offender following a pursuit. Safety of the public and peace officers during the law enforcement effort to capture an offender shall be an important factor. (11) Determine effective coordination, management, and control of interjurisdictional pursuits. The policy shall include, but shall not be limited to, all of the following: (A) Supervisory control and management of a pursuit that enters another jurisdiction. (B) Communications and notifications among the agencies involved. (C) Involvement in another jurisdiction's pursuit. (D) Roles and responsibilities of units and coordination, management, and control at the termination of an interjurisdictional pursuit. (12) Reporting and postpursuit analysis as required by Section 14602.1. Establish the level and procedures of postpursuit analysis, review, and feedback. Establish procedures for written postpursuit review and followup. (d) "Regular and periodic training" under this section means annual training that shall include, at a minimum, coverage of each of the subjects and elements set forth in subdivision (c) and that shall comply, at a minimum, with the training guidelines established pursuant to Section 13519.8 of the Penal Code. (e) The requirements of subdivision (c) represent minimum policy standards and do not limit an agency from adopting additional policy requirements. The requirements in subdivision (c) are consistent with the 1995 California Law Enforcement Vehicle Pursuit Guidelines developed by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training pursuant to Section 13519.8 of the Penal Code that will assist agencies in the development of their pursuit policies. Nothing in this section precludes the adoption of a policy that limits or restricts pursuits. (f) A determination of whether a public agency has complied with subdivisions (c) and (d) is a question of law for the court. (g) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2007.
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