33-602.701: Use of Blue Lights and Sirens
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The purpose and effect of proposed Rule 33-602.701, F.A.C., is to implement amendments to Sections 316.003 and 316.2397, F.S., which allow the department to designate vehicles as law enforcement vehicles and operate blue lights and sirens.
SUMMARY: The proposed rule designates Department of Corrections vehicles as law enforcement vehicles according to amendments to Sections 316.003 and 316.2397, F.S. and allows the Department of Corrections to operate blue lights and sirens. The proposed rule language designates when lights only shall be used and when lights and sirens shall be used, the responsibilities of department staff, and the training required of department staff operating department vehicles.
SUMMARY OF STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED REGULATORY COSTS: No Statement of Estimated Regulatory Cost was prepared.
Any person who wishes to provide information regarding a statement of estimated regulatory costs, or provide a proposal for a lower cost regulatory alternative must do so in writing within 21 days of this notice.
SPECIFIC AUTHORITY: 316.2397 FS.
LAW IMPLEMENTED: 316.003, 316.072, 316.2397 FS.
IF REQUESTED WITHIN 21 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, A HEARING WILL BE SCHEDULED AND ANNOUNCED IN FAW.
THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULE IS: Jamie Leigh Jordan, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Corrections, 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2500
THE FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULE IS:
33-602.701 Use of Blue Lights and Sirens.
(1) Authorized Emergency Vehicles: The following vehicles shall be authorized to have and operate blue lights and a siren under the circumstances set out in subsections (1), (2), and (3) of this rule:
(a) Designated emergency response vehicles assigned to the Office of the Inspector General;
(b) Primary and secondary canine unit vehicles, not to exceed three vehicles per facility; or
(c) Vehicles specifically designated for use to “trail” external
(2) Use of Blue Lights Only:
(a) Incidents of this nature do not require and staff will not use audible emergency warnings. These incidents include:
1. Responding to the report of non-life threatening injuries or minor disturbances at external work areas, etc.;
2. Participating in escape simulation drills, or other similar drills where a visual warning may be necessary to alert the general public; or
3. Working in accord with local law enforcement agencies.
(b) Under no circumstances will a vehicle displaying only blue lights, not operating a siren, exceed posted speed limits or disregard traffic laws.
(3) Use of Blue Lights and Siren:
(a) Blue lights and a siren shall be utilized in unison when responding to the following types of emergency situations.
1. Escapes from secure custody;
2. When providing armed escort to emergency vehicles such as ambulances transporting inmates when those emergency vehicles are operating lights and sirens; or
3. When working with other law enforcement agencies in emergency situations, when such assistance has been requested by the law enforcement agency.
(b) The driver of any authorized emergency vehicle displaying blue lights and using the siren may exercise privileges granted under Section 316.072, F.S., but only under the following conditions and except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. The driver may:
1. Park or stand, irrespective of the provisions of Chapter 316, F.S.;
2. Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
3. Exceed the maximum speed limits, so long as the driver does not endanger life or property; and
4. Disregard regulations governing direction or movement or turning in specified directions, so long as the driver does not endanger life or property.
(c) The foregoing provisions will not relieve the driver from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor will such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his or her reckless disregard for the safety of others. Additionally, all staff engaged in any emergency response situation shall comply with the following procedures:
1. Stop for all stop signs and red traffic lights and proceed only after all other vehicles have yielded the right-of-way.
2. Speed will not exceed 15 MPH over the posted speed limit unless circumstances exist that would provide for the safe operation of the vehicle at higher speeds and the gravity of the situation so warrants. Speed entering and exiting a tollbooth shall never be greater than the posted speed limit or if not posted 15 MPH.
3. In the event of an equipment failure that could result in the unsafe operation of the vehicle during an emergency response mode, such emergency response mode shall be terminated and the appropriate institutions control room will be notified.
(d) Under no circumstances will the siren or any other audible device be operated alone, independent of displaying blue lights.
(4) Use of Vehicles in Recapture Efforts: The department has a “no motor vehicle pursuit” policy.
(a) Motor vehicle pursuits will be handled by the law enforcement agencies involved in the recapture efforts.
(b) If an escapee is detected and flees in a motor vehicle, the detecting correctional officer will immediately communicate this information to the assisting agencies and allow them to take over any pursuit of a motor vehicle.
(c) The correctional officer will obtain as much descriptive information as possible of the suspect vehicle (location, direction of travel, color, make of vehicle, model of vehicle, tag, and occupant description).
(a) It will be the responsibility of the warden or inspector general to:
1. Ensure that all officers assigned as drivers for emergency vehicles utilizing blue lights and sirens are properly trained in the safe operation of emergency vehicles and have completed an emergency vehicle operations course or the reasonable equivalent as approved by the department;
2. Ensure that all emergency vehicles are maintained in good condition;
3. Ensure those officers utilized as drivers for emergency vehicles have not, within the past three years, been convicted of reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, and have not had their driver’s license suspended under the point system provided for in Chapter 322, F.S.;
4. Ensure those officers utilized as drivers for emergency vehicles possess a valid State of
5. Ensure officers utilized as drivers for emergency vehicles maintain American Safety and Health Institute CPR certification or its equivalent; and
6. Cause a periodic inspection of drivers to ensure continued compliance with the foregoing.
(b) It will be the responsibility of the driver of a designated department emergency vehicle to:
1. Advise his or her supervisor of any change to his or her driving status; i.e., suspended license, etc.;
2. Advise his or her supervisor of any physical or mental defect, disease or condition that would adversely affect or impair his or her ability to drive an emergency vehicle; (This includes the taking of an prescription or over the counter medication which may impair a person’s reaction time, cause drowsiness, or any other mental or physical impairment.).
3. Comply with all provisions of this rule and state Uniform Traffic Control laws of Chapter 316, F.S.
(a) The Bureau of Staff Development will design and implement emergency vehicle operation course of no less than sixteen hours. This training will mirror that which is currently afforded law enforcement students in certified law enforcement academies. This course may be condensed in order to better suit the department’s needs, but will provide students with advanced driving techniques and a clear understanding of current law and legal expectations.
(b) Correctional officers who have attended and successfully completed a certified law enforcement crossover course and have their certificates of certification as law enforcement officers on file with the department will be considered as meeting this training requirement. In the event there is no cross over emergency vehicle operation course, the additional department training will be required.
(c) The Bureau of Staff Development will ensure this course is updated annually or as needed based on current state Uniform Traffic Control laws, Chapter 316, F.S.
(d) The course of study will be mandatory for all persons prior to operating any vehicle equipped with blue lights and siren, and will be documented in each person’s personnel file and training record.
Specific Authority 316.2397 FS. Law Implemented 316.003, 316.072, 316.2397 FS. History–New .