21.00.020     PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATIONS       (CALEA 42.2.1)


Unless otherwise directed, Patrol Section and/or Community Services Section personnel will conduct a preliminary investigation on matters reported to the Department.  When a preliminary investigation results in a report, upon completion of the report, a Patrol supervisor will determine the need for follow-up and disposition of the case.  Investigations which cannot be conducted by members of the Patrol Section due to time, lack of resources, and/or expertise, will be referred to the Investigations Section for review and assignment.


The Investigations Division may initiate preliminary investigations of an administrative or sensitive nature.  Such investigations include but are not limited to vice, white collar crimes, and other investigations types as assigned by an Investigations Supervisor or above.


Preliminary investigations are often sufficient to document and close a case, or provide the information necessary for filing of charges.  The following steps shall be completed as part of the preliminary investigation:


v     Observing all conditions, events, and remarks


v     Locating and identifying witnesses


v     Maintaining the crime scene and protecting evidence


v     Interviewing the complainant and witnesses


v     Interviewing/Interrogating the suspect


v     Arranging for the collection of evidence


v     Effecting the arrest of the criminal


v     Reporting the incident completely and accurately


The completion of a preliminary investigation will not preclude the investigating officer from being assigned to the follow-up investigation by his/her supervisor.


Vice, Narcotics, and Organized Crime Complaints                    (CALEA 43.1.1)


The Department recognizes that valuable information regarding vice, narcotics, and/or organized crime may come from diverse sources. When vice, narcotics, and organized crime complaints are received by any commissioned member of the Department a case report with complaint number will be initiated.  Upon completion of the preliminary investigation (see above steps for a preliminary investigation), the officer will forward the completed initial case report to his/her immediate supervisor.  The supervisor will either:


v     Re-assign the case to the officer for further investigation,

v     Assign the case to the Investigations Section for follow-up investigation, or

v     Assign the case to the Eastside Narcotics Task Force for follow-up investigation.

All vice, narcotics, and organized crime complaints will be investigated to the fullest extent possible.  Depending on the nature of the investigation it may become necessary to refer the investigation to an outside agency.


The Investigations Major is responsible for ensuring the Operations Division Deputy Chief and the Chief of Police are promptly advised of any significant activity regarding ENTF investigations.


All vice, narcotics, and organized crime complaints will be tracked and maintained by case number.  Case reports will be maintained according to Department procedures.


If information is received that pertains to an outside jurisdiction then an “Assist Official Agency” report and case number will be initiated and the information forwarded to the outside agency.  If information is received from an outside jurisdiction then a vice, narcotics, or organized crime report and case number will be initiated, and the outside jurisdiction case report number will be referenced in the report.


File Maintenance and Security               (CALEA 43.1.2)


All records and reports on active undercover investigations shall be kept secured in a locking file cabinet in the Eastside Narcotics Task Force office. When a member of the Task Force is not present, the files shall remain locked. When an internal inquiry pertaining to any of the suspects and/or informants listed in the reports is received, it shall be handled by the detective assigned to the investigation and/or the Commander of the Eastside Narcotics Task Force or his designee. Release of this information shall be closely scrutinized.


Physical Evidence       (CALEA 83.2.1)


Physical evidence supporting the criminal investigation will be developed, collected, and preserved per standard practices and in compliance with evidence policies, rules and regulations in this manual and the Department’s Property/Evidence Manual.


The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory may serve as resource and final authority on changes in evidence procedures and should be contacted when questions arise.  All methods of handling and processing evidence are subject to change as technology changes.


More detailed information may be found on this topic in the policies in the Evidence System chapter.


Criminal Background Investigations


Background investigations on suspects may include the following information:


v      Criminal history


v      Financial assets and history


v      Arrest warrants


v      Weapons permits


v      Associated vehicles


v      Vehicle registration status (computerized license enforcement file - CLEF)


v      Field contacts (FIR)


v      Threat assessment


v      Identification of other safety risks


Dissemination of background information will be in accordance with RCW 10.97.070 and RCW 42.17.310 (d) and (e).


Background investigation records will be maintained in the case file and retained for a minimum period of six years after the case is closed.


Surveillance Procedures      (CALEA 43.1.5)


Personnel conducting surveillance operations should attempt to keep the danger to the general public at a minimum.