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February 7, 1978 Sheriffs; Law Enforcement Officers, Counties, Municipalities, Cooperation between law enforcement agencies; Request for temporary assistance, G.S. 160A-288.

Subject:

 

Requested By: T. J. Long, Secretary Alamance County Law Enforcement

 

Questions: (1) Must each request for temporary assistance between law enforcement agencies, pursuant to

 

G.S. 160A-288, be in writing?

(2) What time period is embraced within the term "may temporarily provide assistance" as used in G.S. 160A-288?

Conclusion: (1)

Yes, subject to the rules, policies, and guidelines adopted by the governing body of the city or county.
(2)
Temporary means for a short period of time, a limited time only, as distinguished from a period of long duration or indefinite in duration. Thus the rules, policies and guidelines adopted by the governing bodies of the city or county should define the period of temporary time assistance may be provided.

It is difficult to ascertain from the specific language of G.S. 160A-288 whether a standing request may be made for specific types of temporary assistance or whether each individual situation arising must have a written request by the head of the requesting agency.

We are inclined to the view that the governing body of a city or county could adopte rules, policies and guidelines which would provide that a written request from the head of a law enforcement agency for temporary assistance would be valid for a specific period of time, for specific types of assistance and the head of the requested agency could furnish assistance within the guidelines without the necessity of an individual written request in every situation which may arise.

For instance, the rules, policies and guidelines could provide that a standing written request for temporary assistance in cases of hot pursuit, backup assistance etc. would be sufficient. In cases of undercover work or other assistance which would extend over a longer period of time where there is no necessity for quick assistance, then an individual written request should be required.

Thus, it seems that whether a written request should be required for each instance of temporary assistance would be within the authority of the governing body of the city or county which adopts rules, policies and guidelines to provide temporary assistance to another law enforcement agency.

However, the request must be in writing in accordance with the policies of the governing body.

We believe the above construction of the statute would be in line with the intent of the General Assembly to provide quick and responsive temporary assistance between law enforcement agencies.

For example, quick and effective assistance could not be given to a police officer in many instances if a written request had to be made each time assistance was needed from another officer who would have to go beyond his territorial jurisdiction as defined in G.S. 15A-402.

Temporary is defined in the dictionary as that which is to last for a limited time only, as distinguished from that which is perpetual, or indefinite in its duration, lasting for a limited time, not of long duration, not permanent, a short time.

Thus, from the above definition, the governing body should be able to set forth in its rules, policies and guidelines what period of time it considers temporary for specific types of assistance.

Rufus L. Edmisten Attorney General

James F. Bullock Senior Deputy Attorney General