Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services


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TITLE: Fugitive Unit Transporting Offenders


The purpose of this General Order is to give the members of the Fugitive Unit guidance and direction when transporting offenders.


  1. In the arrest, transportation, and detention of suspects, officers will take precautions to prevent an escape, injury to themselves and others, or damage to property. When making an arrest, officers will search suspects carefully and will immediately take possession of all weapons and evidence. If, for any reason, suspects cannot be thoroughly searched before being turned over to another, the arresting officer will, without fail, notify the person receiving the offender. If an officer receives an offender from another peace officer or from another agency, the officer will search the offender prior to placing the offender in the patrol car.
  2. An officer making an arrest will transport the arrested individual, or cause him/her to be transported to the jail, or juvenile detention facility to be booked without delay.
  3. Offender transport vehicles:
    1. Vehicles used for transporting offenders must be equipped with transportation screens to separate the officer from the offender.
    2. Vehicles used for transporting offenders should have window cranks and door handles removed from the rear compartment.
    3. A complete search will be made of all vehicles that may be used for transporting offenders at the beginning and end of each transportation assignment. This applies to all Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services vehicles assigned to the Fugitive Unit that may be used to transport offenders.


For the purpose of this policy, the word "officer" shall encompass the deputies assigned to the Fugitive unit.


  1. The following procedures shall be used by officers transporting offenders. All persons in custody shall be handcuffed except:
    1. Juveniles per Chapter 232 of the Code of Iowa, unless that juvenile resists, threatens physical violence, or is deemed an escape risk;
    2. Where physical or medical problems may prohibit the use of handcuffs; or
    3. As authorized by a Supervisor.
  2. Handcuffs or flexcuffs should be used in accordance with accepted law enforcement practices:
    1. Hands back to back, palms out;
    2. Persons in custody should not be handcuffed to a fixed object, except in the case of an extreme emergency;
    3. Extreme caution must be exercised if the handcuffs are used as a "come a long";
    4. Handcuffs should be double locked to prevent tightening and the possibility of picking the lock; and
    5. If the person in custody complains that the cuffs are too tight, they should be inspected and adjusted, if needed.
  3. Any person taken into custody should be searched immediately after the restraint devices are in place. A cursory (pat down) search of a subject may be conducted by an officer of the opposite sex. If this occurs, the officer shall include an explanation in his/her report in case an allegation of improper conduct should arise. Whenever possible, an officer should wait for a second officer to act as a witness before conducting a cursory search of a member of the opposite sex.
  4. Supplemental restraints:

    The use of supplemental restraint devices are authorized in special circumstances:

    1. Leg restraints may be used on a violent subject, if hand or flex cuffs do not adequately restrain the person.
    2. Leg restraints and a waist chain may be used in transporting persons that have been booked at the jail.
    3. When they are available, medical type restraint devices may be used in lieu of handcuffs on a violent subject.
  5. Patrol vehicles equipped with a transport screen shall be used for all violent offenders whenever possible. At no time shall an offender be handcuffed or otherwise secured to any part of the vehicle, other than with a seat/shoulder restraint. When there are one or two officers, the offender shall be placed in the rear seat opposite the driver and should be secured with the seat belt. The rear view mirror should be positioned so the officer may monitor the offender.
  6. Three officer transport: The offender shall be placed in the rear seat opposite the driver and should be secured with the seat belt. The third officer will secure his/her weapon in the trunk of the vehicle prior to transport. If the third officer deems necessary, they may change the seating protocol for the safety of the occupants in the vehicle.
  7. Officers transporting an offender shall report their starting location and should report beginning and ending mileage to the Communications Center.
  8. Safety aspects of the transport function require that the offender's right to communication with attorneys and others will not normally be exercised during the period that the offender is being transported.
  9. Co participants in felony offenses shall be separated as soon as possible and should be transported in separate vehicles. When transported in one vehicle, offender communication should not be allowed.
  10. If the offender is refractory, the officer shall have the Communications Center notify the jail prior to their arrival so that jail staff can take appropriate precautions.
  11. Officers shall not respond to or take law enforcement actions while transporting offenders, unless an extreme emergency exists. Only when the risk to third parties is both clear and grave and the risk to the offender is minimal should an officer stop to render assistance. Officers should radio the need for law enforcement services so another officer or law enforcement agency can respond to the incident.
  12. Drivers exiting transport vehicles shall shut off the engine, remove the keys, and maintain eye contact with the offender.
  13. In the event a offender escapes while being transported, the transporting officer shall immediately notify his/her supervisor and the Communications Center (dispatch). The officer shall then attempt to apprehend the escapee. The transporting officer shall file a report explaining the details of the escape regardless of whether or not the escapee is recaptured.
  14. When transporting handicapped offenders, the officer shall exercise due care and attention. Arrangements should be made when transporting non ambulatory offenders or those requiring wheelchairs, crutches, or prostheses appliances. It may be necessary to transport medicine, insulin, and other special items for certain offenders during transport. Examples of transportation alternatives would include, but are not limited to:
    1. Volunteer fire department (rescue unit);
    2. Crutches and wheelchairs are available through the jail division;
    3. Providing adequate officers to assist or carry the offender to and from the transport vehicle; or
    4. Commercial vehicles.

      NOTE: Transportation arrangements must be approved by the on duty supervisor.

  15. Officers should carefully consider the following circumstances before deciding not to use restraints when transporting handicapped, sick, or injured offenders:
    1. Is the person an escape risk or a danger to the officer, him/herself, or others? If the answer is "yes", then the person should be restrained.
    2. Is there a transportation screen in the vehicle that would make it reasonable not to use restraints?
    3. Does the age, size, or physical impairments of the person dictate that restraints should not be used?
    4. Is another officer accompanying the transporting officer?
  16. All offenders who become sick or injured prior to or incidental to an arrest will be transported to the Broadlawns Medical Center (BMC) before being taken to the Polk County Jail. If the offender is admitted to the hospital, the following procedures shall apply:
    1. The officer shall contact his/her supervisor.
    2. The supervisor can authorize the release of the offender on a police citation at the hospital. (If applicable).
    3. If the offender cannot be released on a citation release, the supervisor will attempt to make other arrangements with the Polk County Jail.
    4. The final disposition will be made by the Director of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services.


  1. When an officer is assigned to transport an offender to another facility, the officer shall:
    1. Verify the offender's identity.
    2. Obtain the necessary paperwork to complete the transportation;
    3. Obtain information to relay to the receiving agency, relating to the offender's escape or suicide potential or other personal traits of a security nature;
    4. Obtain medical records, if necessary; and
    5. Obtain personal property.
  2. Use of restraints during transportation:

    All offenders will be restrained in the following restraint devices:

    1. Handcuffs;

      If the offender is a security risk or the transporting officer(s) deem necessary:

      1. Waist chain; and
      2. Leg irons.
  3. Use of toilet facilities by offenders in transport:
    1. Offenders being transported shall remain in the transporting officer's sight at all times. If the offender needs to use the rest room, the officer should allow for reasonable use of toilet facilities, but the officer should not allow the offender to select the location.
    2. Normally, the use of toilet facilities will not be required from the point of arrest to the Polk County Jail.
  4. Procedures for officer at destination: Upon arrival at their destination, transporting officers shall secure their firearms, preferably in a firearms locker provided at the destination, however, if not available, then the firearms shall be placed in the trunk of the transport vehicle.
    1. Officers shall adhere to the security and operational procedures of the facility.
    2. The transporting officer shall provide the facility with the proper documentation of the transfer, commitment or release, and obtain a signature from the receiving officer.


  1. All officers entering the Polk County Jail will secure their weapons in the jail gun lockers and shall observe jail regulations.
  2. All officers will provide the jail supervisor or his/her designee with booking information on their offender(s) upon arrival at the jail.
  3. When an officer presents an offender for booking at the Polk County Jail, that offender shall remain handcuffed until they are removed by a jailer.
  4. Refractory offenders must remain restrained; the jail staff will furnish appropriate restraint control devices to replace the arresting/transporting officer's equipment. The jail staff shall be notified in advance of refractory offenders' arrival so they can take the necessary precautions.
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