Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services


  • Search Policies

<< Back | Printer Friendly Version

TITLE: Fugitive Unit Arrest


To ensure that when officers of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services Fugitive Unit make arrests it is done in a legal and safe manner.


Members of the Fugitive Unit, trained in arrest procedures, shall affect an arrest, within the scope of the officer's responsibilities, when appropriate and necessary to accomplish the goals and objective of the District. An arrest may be made by a Fugitive Unit officer having probable cause to believe that an offender assigned to the District's supervision has violated the conditions of supervision. Members of the Fugitive Unit are certified Peace Officers in the State of Iowa. If, while performing their normal duties, a member of the Fugitive Unit encounters a citizen, not under supervision by the District, but in violation of the State Code of Iowa, the Fugitive Unit officer may make an arrest.


  1. ARREST: Iowa Code chapter 804.5, Arrest defined: "Arrest is the taking of a person into custody when and in the manner authorized by law, including restraint of the person or the person's submission to custody".
  2. PEACE OFFICERS: Iowa Code chapter 801.4 (11) (d) (e)] "Peace Officers", sometimes designated "law enforcement officers", include: d. "Parole agents acting pursuant to section 906.2" e. "Probation officers acting pursuant to section 602.7202, subsection 4, and section 907.2".
  3. 3. For the purpose of this section, the word "officer" shall encompass the Polk County Sheriff Office deputies assigned to the Fugitive Unit.


  1. According to chapter 804.7 of the Code of Iowa, a peace officer may make an arrest without a warrant:
    1. "For a public offense committed or attempted in the peace officer's presence".
    2. "Where a public offense has in fact been committed, and the peace officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the person to be arrested has committed it".
    3. "Where the peace officer has reasonable grounds for believing that an indictable public offense has been committed and has reasonable grounds for believing that the person to be arrested has committed it".
    4. "Where the peace officer has received from the department of public safety, or from any other peace officer of this state or any other state or the United States an official communication by bulletin, radio, telegraph, telephone, or otherwise, informing the peace officer that a warrant has been issued and is being held for the arrest of the person to be arrested on a designated charge".
    5. "As required by section 236.12, subsection 2".
      1. Computer entries must be validated (confirmed with originating agency) before an arrest is made solely on the computer entry.
    6. If the peace officer has reasonable grounds for believing that domestic abuse, as defined in section 236.2, has occurred and has reasonable grounds for believing that the person to be arrested has committed it.
  2. Treatment of offenders: In making an arrest, a Fugitive Unit officer must treat an individual with as much respect as that person will allow. A Fugitive Unit officer will not physically mistreat or verbally harass any individual that he/she takes into custody. Medical treatment will be provided when necessary if the person is ill or injured.
  3. Discretion:
    1. District Fugitive Unit officers shall at all times take appropriate action to:
      1. Protect life and property;
      2. Preserve the peace;
      3. Prevent crime; and
      4. Detect and arrest violators of the law.
    2. B. Fugitive Unit officers shall enforce all laws and ordinances coming within the jurisdiction, and ensure fairness and impartiality in all matters of law enforcement interest. Proper enforcement action must be taken whenever required, but provisions are made for the use of the Fugitive Unit officer's discretion. Such are the cases where discretion will best serve the immediate situation and the public.
    3. There are circumstances where although there are grounds for making a lawful arrest, better law enforcement practice dictates that the offender not be arrested. However, in most cases, it is not the role of the Fugitive Unit officer to decide whether an offense should be prosecuted; that is the responsibility of the County Attorney's office. The decision not to arrest must be based on careful consideration of the following guidelines:
      1. It is an acceptable law enforcement practice not to arrest:
        1. When the arrest would cause a greater risk or harm to the general public than the offender remaining free.
        2. When the arrest would cause harm or embarrassment to an offender who poses no threat or harm to the public.
  4. Constitutional rights:
    1. No person has a constitutional right to violate the law, nor may any person be deprived of his/her constitutional rights merely because he/ she is suspected of having committed a crime. The task of determining the constitutionality of a law lies solely with an appellate court of jurisdiction, not with an employee of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services or Fugitive Unit officers working in partnership with employees of the District seeking to properly enforce documented law.
    2. Bias-based profiling:
      1. Bias-based profiling is the selection of individuals, based solely on a common trait of a group. This includes, but is not limited to race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or any other identifiable groups.
      2. The District and the Fugitive Unit officers working for District do not condone the use of any bias-based profiling in its enforcement programs.
    3. Miranda:
      1. Fugitive Unit officers are required to advise a suspect of their constitutional rights, prior to custodial interrogation.
      2. Fugitive Unit officers may question persons, during general on-the-scene investigations, regarding facts surrounding a crime. Persons questioned during such time need not be forewarned until one of the following situations exits:
        1. Sufficient evidence is gathered to substantiate an arrest of such person.
        2. When questioning becomes accusatory or custodial.
        3. Persons arrested for any crime shall be advised of his/her constitutional rights, if the officer intends to question him/her.
        4. Rights should be read to the suspect, not recited from memory. A signed "waiver of rights" should be obtained by the Fugitive Unit officer to refute any allegation the defendant might make that he/she was not advised of his/her rights and did not effectively waive them.
  5. Alternatives to custodial arrest:
    1. Pursuant to section 805.1 of the Code of Iowa, a peace officer having grounds to make an arrest may issue a citation in lieu of arrest without a warrant or, if a warrantless arrest has been made, a citation may be issued in lieu of custody.
    2. In effecting an arrest for disorderly conduct, an officer may determine that the subject is suffering from a mental disturbance/illness. The subject should be taken to Broadlawns Medical Center for an evaluation by the hospital crisis team if his/her conduct is in any way self injurious. If necessary, a voluntary or emergency mental committal may be obtained.
    3. In effecting an arrest of a transient/vagrant for criminal trespass, an officer may determine that the subject's sole reason for trespassing was to seek shelter. When appropriate, the officer/deputy may take the subject to a social service shelter; such as Bethel Mission, Door of Faith Mission, or the Churches United Shelter.
    4. See Fugitive Unit Search and Seizure policy in reference to search and seizure procedures for general law enforcement.


The Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services Fugitive Unit's main responsibility is to meet the goals and objectives set out in the District's Mission Statement. The Fugitive Unit is under the discretion of the Director for the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services.

  1. Prior to effecting an arrest of individuals under supervision by the District, an arrest warrant shall be obtained whenever possible. When the Fugitive Unit officer does not have the opportunity to obtain a warrant, and time is of the essence, the officer may effect the arrest immediately, for probation violation.
  2. Whenever feasible a pre-arrest briefing will be held involving all Fugitive Unit officers participating in the arrest.
  3. Arrest authority shall be exercised to meet District goals and objectives, taking into account the protection of the community and the safety of the officer, offenders and others involved.
  4. The Fugitive Unit officer shall take evasive action to avoid risk of injury. If physical contact is unavoidable, the officer shall use only that force necessary to control and maintain control of the person being arrested. Fugitive Unit officers should consult the Fugitive Unit Use of Force Policy.
  5. Execution of Arrest:
    1. Officers should be acting in pairs whenever possible in effecting an arrest.
      1. Fugitive Unit officers will keep in mind a likelihood of risk/violence exists when making an arrest. The greater the likelihood of risk that exists, the greater the number of officers should be present for the arrest.
      2. Factors to be considered are the person's demeanor, previous history of violence, history of mental/emotional instability, propensity for flight, age, size, and skill.
  6. The Fugitive Unit officer(s) shall file a written report with his/her supervisor documenting the specifics of the arrest.
    1. Manner of Making Arrest (ref. Iowa Code 804.14). The person making the arrest must inform the person to be arrested of:
      1. the intention to arrest him/her,
      2. the reason for the arrest, and
      3. that the arresting person is a peace officer. (Except when the person to be arrested is actually engaged in the commission of or attempt to commit an offense, or escape, so that there is no time or opportunity to do so.)
    2. If acting under the authority of a warrant, and the Fugitive Unit officer does not have the warrant in his/her possession at the time of the arrest, the Fugitive Unit officer shall inform the person being arrested of the fact that a warrant has been issued, and upon request, the Fugitive Unit officer shall show the warrant to the person being arrested as soon as possible.
    3. Appropriate custody measures shall be taken to prevent escapes such as the use of handcuffs or leg restraints.
    4. See the Fugitive Unit Policy: Transport of Prisoners and Others.
    5. Forced Entry in Making Arrests:
      1. Iowa Code Section 804.15: Breaking and entering premises - demand to enter.

        "If a law enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe that a person whom the officer is authorized to arrest is present on any private premises, the officer may upon identifying the officer as such, demand that the officer be admitted to such premises for the purpose of making the arrest. If such demand is not promptly complied with, the officer may thereupon enter such premises to make the arrest, using such force as is reasonably necessary".

      2. Members of the Fugitive Unit, in the course of their duty, may encounter wanted subjects inside of private premises who refuse to submit to their authority. In these instances the Fugitive Unit officer may, with probable cause, force entry into the premises for purposes of arresting the wanted person, if the following conditions exit.
        1. The Fugitive Unit officer is acting in good faith, knowing the subject has a valid warrant.
        2. The Fugitive Unit officer visibly observes the wanted subject inside the structure.
        3. The Fugitive Unit officer has given several verbal orders to the subject to comply.
        4. If exigent circumstances exist:
          1. If exigent circumstances do not exist, officers should attempt to get permission from the Fugitive Unit Supervisor to use force for entry.
        5. If the subject poses an immediate threat to the general public.
        6. If the Fugitive Unit officers have exhausted all other means to gain entry without force such as seeking a landlord with keys, the doors are unlocked, etc. For any other forced entries, the unit supervisor shall be contacted. If the above conditions do not exist, forced entry is prohibited.
        7. g. If forced entry is used, the Fugitive Unit Supervisor shall be notified in a timely manner. If feasible and if out of harms way, photos of the damaged property will be taken. Also see Iowa Code Sections 804.20, 804.21, 804.22.
    6. Fugitive Unit officers should always consider the seriousness of what the person is wanted for, and potential risks to anyone involved in a forced entry situation. Fugitive Unit officers may always withdraw if they believe the risks involved in making any arrest is too great.
    7. See Fugitive Unit Search and Seizure Policy in reference to the search and seizure procedures for probation and parole officers.
<< Back | Printer Friendly Version

Offices | Services | Offender Information | Resources | Reports | PREA | Links