Missouri State Highway Patrol

Operations Manual


Restraining and Transporting Prisoners


General Order Number: 71-01-0867

Date of Issue: October 12, 2001

Related Directives/Forms: General Orders 01-02 and 41-01; Exposure Control Plan; Relay Report, SHP-209; Report of Incident, Arrest, Investigation of Crime, SHP-325; Flight Request, SHP-372

Related CALEA Standards: 1.2.5; 41.3.3; 46.1.3; 61.1.11; 71.1.1 to 71.3.3; 71.5.1


PURPOSE: To establish policy on the use of restraining devices and transportation of prisoners by members.


POLICY: To ensure the safety of members, the public, and prisoners being transported, while providing for the reasonable needs of the prisoners.




A. Handcuffs for Normal Situations


Except as provided in this order, members will properly handcuff all prisoners as soon as it is feasible to do so following a custodial arrest and before transporting the prisoner.


B. Special Restraints or Other Measures


Mentally disturbed prisoners should be transported using specialized restraints which prevent self-inflicted injuries, if available, e.g., a straightjacket. Absent such devices, members should take reasonable measures to safeguard against self-inflicted injuries.


C. Self Defense Restraint, Commercial Vehicle Officers


1.      Commercial vehicle officers may only use handcuffs as a defensive tool when they reasonably believe the use of handcuffs is necessary to protect themselves or others, to include the subject being restrained, from physical harm.


2.      After placing a subject in handcuffs, a commercial vehicle officer will immediately notify the affected troop headquarters, and a member will immediately be notified to respond to the scene to assist.


3.      Commercial vehicle officers will physically apply handcuffs, according to proper application procedures described for members in this order, using handcuffing techniques taught in official training.




A. Handcuffs


1. Keys


Members will keep one handcuff key on their whistle lanyard and carry the other key on or about their person. Handcuff keys will be properly safeguarded and will not be left unattended near a prisoner.


2. Procedures


a.       Except as provided in this order, prisoners will be handcuffed with hands behind the back and palms facing outward if possible.


b.      When prisoners will be transported over an extended distance or for an extended period of time, they may be handcuffed with their hands in front; however, further precautions should be taken to limit hand movement. The prisoner's belt may be looped through the handcuffs with the buckle to the rear, an extra set of handcuffs or temporary plastic restraints may be used to secure the applied handcuffs to the prisoner's reversed belt, or other similar methods may be used.


c.       Handcuffs should be properly applied so that the prisoner cannot get out of the handcuffs, but not so tight as to cause injury or pain beyond the normal level of discomfort associated with being properly handcuffed. Handcuffs should be double-locked, and prisoners should remain handcuffed until at the location or facility which offers an appropriate level of security.


d.      Prisoners should not be handcuffed to any part of a vehicle while being transported.


B. Temporary Plastic Restraints


1.      Temporary plastic restraints are to be used only as short-term, intermediate restraints. Such restraints may be useful in mass arrests, while transporting prisoners not deemed to be escape risks over long distances, or to supplement steel handcuffs.


2.      Members removing temporary plastic restraints should use the special cutting pliers issued for that purpose, and should remove the restraints with reasonable care to avoid injury to the prisoner or themselves.


C. Other Types of Restraints


Other appropriate restraints may be used when necessary to prevent escapes, ensure member safety, or minimize self-inflicted injuries by prisoners.


D. Complaints by Prisoners


1.      If a prisoner states that any restraint device being used is causing injury or pain beyond the normal level of discomfort associated with that type of restraint, the officer will check the proper application of the restraint as soon as feasible. If needed, the restraint will be adjusted as soon as feasible giving due consideration for officer-safety concerns, escape risks, and the apparent extent of pain or injury caused by the restraint.


2.      When injuries occur or are alleged to have occurred, officers should document the apparent extent of the injuries and any witnesses using the appropriate written report. If feasible, photos should be taken of the alleged or actual injuries. Medical treatment should be sought as outlined in this order.




A. Restraint Method and Prisoner Position


Members will not transport prisoners who have been "hog-tied" or who are lying on their stomachs. Should a prisoner being transported lie face down, the transporting member will reposition the prisoner so that the prisoner's breathing can be properly monitored.


B. Monitoring of Prisoner


If it becomes necessary to transport a prisoner in a prone position, the prisoner will be closely and continuously monitored. Members should be particularly observant of prisoners who have displayed erratic behavior, appear to be under the influence of drugs, or have been subjected to a neck restraint or OC aerosol.




A. Scope and Reasonableness


1.      All prisoners, before being placed in a patrol vehicle, will be searched for weapons and devices which may be used to escape.


2.      Prisoners will also be searched each time they come into a member's custody.


B. Prisoner Possessions


Purses, knapsacks, containers, coats, jackets, or other outer garments in the possession of the prisoner should be separated from the prisoner and searched.


C. Searches of Persons of the Opposite Sex


Other than a reasonable frisk search conducted for the safety of the member, a search of a person of the opposite sex should be conducted in accordance with the following guidelines:


1.      Search based upon articulable suspicion or probable cause.


2.      Search for weapons or devices which may be used to effect an escape which are known or believed to be hidden on the prisoner.


3.      Searches should not be conducted for evidence which is hidden on the prisoner when the evidence could be seized by an officer of the same sex at a later time without being lost, damaged, or destroyed. Members should not ask or compel a civilian employee to search a suspect.




A. Commercial Vehicle Officers' Role Limited


Commercial vehicle officers should not transport prisoners.


B. Check of Patrol Vehicles


Members will check their assigned vehicles at the beginning of each shift to ensure the vehicle is safe and properly equipped for routine patrol and transporting prisoners.


C. Search of Patrol Vehicles


Patrol vehicles will be searched prior to and after transportation of a prisoner. The areas searched may be limited to those areas accessible to the prisoner.


D. Assistance Needed


If a member believes a prisoner cannot be transported safely, the member should take appropriate action to stabilize the situation and call for assistance.


E. Safety Belts


Handcuffed prisoners should be secured with a safety belt during transportation. The feet of violent prisoners should be secured with temporary plastic restraints or other restraints if their actions indicate they may pose a threat to the transporting officer or that they may damage the transporting vehicle or equipment.


F. Procedure with One Prisoner


1.      After being properly secured, a prisoner will be placed in the right front seat.


2.      When two members are present, a prisoner will be placed in the right rear seat, with the guard member seated directly behind the driver.


G. Procedure with Two or Three Prisoners


1.      Where one member is involved, the two prisoners should be properly secured, with one placed in the right front seat and the other in the right rear. If feasible, a member should wait for a backup officer to assist. Normally, one member should not transport more than two prisoners.


2.      When two members are present, the prisoners should be properly secured and seated in the rear -- one on the right side, the other in the center -- with the guard member seated in back of the driver. The front seat should be used if a third prisoner is transported.


H. Use of Restrooms by Prisoners


Members should permit the use of toilet facilities by prisoners when reasonable and possible; however, at no time should a prisoner be allowed out of the sight of a member. If the prisoner is of a different sex than the transporting member, assistance should be sought from an officer of the same sex as the prisoner.


I. Transporting Prisoners of the Opposite Sex


A member transporting a prisoner of the opposite sex will advise the appropriate troop headquarters by radio upon taking custody of the prisoner. The mileage indicated on the patrol car odometer will also be reported at the beginning and end of the trip, and will be noted in the CAD system. If practicable, prisoners will be transported by officers of the same sex.


J. Meal Stops on Long Distance Transports


When transporting a prisoner over a long distance, and a meal is required, the meal location will be selected at random rather than repeatedly using one specific business on repeated trips.


K. Priorities When Transporting Prisoners


Members transporting prisoners should not stop to take enforcement action, pursue a violator, or become involved in any other duty-related activity, except in exigent circumstances.


1.      Only when the risk to other persons is obvious, and the risk to the prisoner is minimal, should a member become engaged in any other duty-related activity.


2.      After necessary measures have been taken, the transporting member should continue the prisoner conveyance.


L. Prisoner Escapes


1.      If a prisoner being transported escapes from custody, the escape should be immediately reported to the appropriate troop headquarters by the most rapid means available.


2.      The reporting officer will also give a physical description of the prisoner, what the prisoner was wearing, the location of the escape, any weapon information, and the last known method and direction of travel.


3.      Communications personnel will promptly dispatch information concerning the escape to other members and law enforcement agencies.


4.      Communications personnel will promptly provide information of the escape to victims and/or witnesses associated with the escapee and known to be endangered. Communications personnel will also notify the local law enforcement agencies in which the endangered victims and/or witnesses live.


5.      The transporting member will prepare an Arrest/Incident/Investigation Report, SHP-325, and will notify the local prosecuting attorney to initiate warrant proceedings.


M. Communications Restricted and Monitored


Normally, members transporting a prisoner should not permit the prisoner to communicate with other individuals.


1.      Such communication may be permitted if it addresses a legitimate concern and does not impair security or adversely affect prosecution of the case.


2.      Communications which are permitted will be closely monitored by the member.


N. Transport For Other Agencies


1.      Members should not transport prisoners for other law enforcement agencies except when doing so involves transports within the local area. Additionally, any transport of prisoners for another agency should be done based upon a tactical need to do so.


2.      Members will not transport prisoners for another agency from one holding facility to another unless directed to do so by their troop commander or when the suspect is unable to post bond on a Patrol arrest.


3.      Before initiating the transportation or relay of a prisoner from one jurisdiction to another due to a prisoner's inability to post bond on an outstanding warrant, members should ensure that all reasonable attempts to facilitate the posting of bond have been exhausted.


O. Holding Facility Procedures


When transporting or relaying a prisoner from one jurisdiction to another, the transporting member, upon arrival at the holding facility, will:


1.      ensure that all firearms are secured in accordance with procedures of the holding facility or locked in the patrol car prior to entering the holding facility.


2.      remove restraining devices immediately prior to securing the prisoner within a holding cell area.


3.      deliver documentation (if any) to the receiving officer.


4.      inform the person to whom the prisoner is released of any known or suspected handicap, illness, or injury and any treatment the prisoner had received or refused; and if the prisoner is known to be an escape risk, suicidal, or has other personality traits indicating a probable security risk or requires specialized restraints.


5.      obtain the signature of the receiving officer on the Relay Report, SHP-209.


P. Communicable Diseases


Members transporting prisoners who are known or suspected of having a communicable disease should take reasonable precautions to avoid or limit risk of exposure as outlined in the Exposure Control Plan.


Q. Procedures With Sick or Injured Prisoners


When a prisoner becomes sick or is injured, and the sickness or injury appears serious in nature, the transporting member will seek medical assistance.


1.      If medical assistance is sought at the scene, it will be the decision of the emergency medical personnel whether or not to transport the prisoner to a medical facility.


2.      If the prisoner is transported by medical personnel, the member will accompany the prisoner or follow the ambulance.


3.      The transporting member should confer with the medical personnel and evaluate the nature of any handicap, sickness, or injury to determine if restraining devices should be used.


4.      Criteria to be considered in determining whether restraining devices should be used include:


a.       how much the handicap, sickness, or injury limits the prisoner's movements.

b.      if restraining devices will compound the handicap, sickness, or injury.

c.       the history and disposition of the prisoner, particularly the prisoner's potential for violence and escape.

d.      the seriousness of the charges against the prisoner.


5.      The safety of members, the prisoner, and any attending medical personnel will be the primary concern in all cases; therefore, restraining devices will normally be required.


R. Prisoners Requiring Medical Treatment


If a prisoner in Patrol custody needs to be transported to a medical care facility, the transporting member will adhere to all transporting and security guidelines.


1.      The transporting member should remain with the prisoner or within sight of the prisoner whenever possible.


2.      Restraint devices may be removed for the safety or treatment of the prisoner.


3.      If the prisoner is admitted to a hospital, the transporting member will be responsible for making necessary security arrangements.


4.      A prisoner who is treated and released should be transported to the appropriate holding facility.


S. Prisoners With Handicaps or Disabilities


When transporting a handicapped or disabled prisoner, the transporting officer will exercise due care respective of the handicap and will ensure the transporting vehicle is appropriate for the prisoner's wheelchair, crutches, prosthetics, or other devices. If transportation in a patrol car is not feasible, special arrangements will be made, e.g., using a van type vehicle, requesting a special prisoner transport vehicle from another agency, requesting an ambulance, etc.


T. Transporting Prisoners from Holding Facilities


Prior to transporting a prisoner from a holding facility, the transporting member will ensure that the prisoner has been positively identified and a Relay Report, SHP-209, is completed for each movement. Positive identification may be accomplished by comparing the name on the warrant in hand to the booking papers received from the holding facility. Photographs and the booking number of the prisoner may also be checked. Other necessary documentation, such as a Uniform Complaint and Summons, warrant, or extradition document, will accompany the prisoner.


U. Information to be Recorded on Relay Report


When a prisoner has a known or suspected handicap, illness, or injury; is known to be an escape risk, suicidal, or has other personality traits indicating a probable security risk; or requires specialized restraints; that information will be documented by the transporting member on the Relay Report.


V. Court to be Notified of Security Risks


When a prisoner considered to be a security risk is to be transported by the Patrol to a court, the troop commander or other designated person will notify the judge presiding over the case of the potential risk.


W. Unusual Situations


Unusual situations requiring the transportation of a prisoner, e.g., transportation to a funeral or interstate transportation of a drug interdiction prisoner, will necessitate special considerations, safety precautions, and the approval of the affected commander. When feasible, plain clothes, unmarked patrol cars, security escort vehicles, and Patrol or commercial aircraft should be used. A thorough analysis of the situation will be conducted to determine operational and resource requirements, e.g., at least one officer assigned to transport a prisoner for long distances should be the same sex as the prisoner.


X. Transporting Prisoners Aboard Patrol Aircraft


1.      Members seeking to transport a prisoner aboard a Patrol aircraft will comply with all applicable portions of General Order 41-01, "Patrol Aircraft," and will:


a.       thoroughly search the prisoner immediately prior to boarding the aircraft within the guidelines established by this order.


b.      ensure all firearms and other potential weapons are secured from the prisoner's reach.


c.       handcuff the prisoner in front with the use of a restraint belt, "D" ring, or other similar device.


d.      immediately comply with all requests or instructions from the pilot. The pilot will be the final authority on all matters from boarding to disembarking from the aircraft to include whether the prisoner is transported by aircraft or not and how restraints should be used on the prisoner.


2.      At no time will the number of prisoners transported by Patrol aircraft be greater than the number of escorting officers, excluding the pilot(s).


3.      No high risk prisoners should be transported by Patrol aircraft without informing the pilot well in advance. This and any other pertinent information will be included on the Flight Request, SHP-372, when an aircraft assigned to General Headquarters is being requested.


Y. Travel Out of State or by Commercial Airlines


When transporting prisoners out of state or by commercial air transportation, members will comply with procedures governing the carrying of firearms as outlined in General Order 01-02, "Authorized Firearms" and the following procedures:


1.      Notify the air carrier at least one hour before departure concerning:


a.       the identity of the prisoner.

b.      the flight on which the prisoner will be transported.

c.       whether the escorted prisoner is considered dangerous.


2.      All prisoners will be restrained at all times. Members will be equipped with adequate restraints to be used if it is determined that special restraint of the person in custody is necessary.


3.      Keep constant surveillance of the prisoner.


4.      At least two officers will escort a dangerous prisoner. No more than one dangerous prisoner will be carried on board the same aircraft.


5.      There will be at least one officer for each prisoner. If the prisoner is a female, the escort will include at least one female officer.


6.      Board with prisoner before all other passengers board. Deplane after all other passengers have left the aircraft.


7.      Be seated in the rear most passenger seats that are not located in a lounge area or next to, or directly across from, an exit.


8.      Ensure that at least one member is located between the prisoner and the aisle.


9.      Assure no food, beverages, metal eating utensils, or other items are given to the prisoner unless authorized by the member.


10.  Neither the escorting officers nor the prisoner in custody will consume any alcoholic beverages.




No holding facilities will be established or maintained by the Patrol. Commanders will ensure that no rooms or areas on Patrol property, on premises either partially or totally controlled by the Patrol, or in facilities provided to the Patrol, are used to even temporarily hold prisoners. Arrested persons who are on premises owned or controlled by Patrol personnel will be under the continuous, direct personal supervision and control of the arresting officer, a designated member, or other law enforcement officer.




A. Report Required


Members will promptly give an incarceration report by radio or other appropriate means to the affected troop headquarters when they leave a violator in the custody of another agency.


B. Exceptions


A report is not required if the member knows for a fact that the violator will post bond and be released within thirty minutes.


Roger D. Stottlemyre, Colonel

Commanding Officer

Missouri State Highway Patrol

PO Box 568

Jefferson City, MO 65102