Temporary changes in telephone service permitted where hostages are being held or suspects are barricaded.
1. A supervising peace officer who, with other officers, or any peace officer who, alone, is attempting to gain control of a situation in which a person:
(a) Is holding another as a hostage, whether or not the life of the hostage has been threatened; or
(b) Has committed or is believed to have committed a crime, is barricaded in an area or structure and is resisting arrest through the use or threatened use of force,
Ê may direct the public utility which provides telephone service to the area or structure in which the hostages are being held or persons are barricaded, or to an area which is close to that area or structure, to interrupt the service on, divert, reroute or otherwise make temporary changes in telephone lines to enable the peace officer making the request to establish communication with the person holding the hostage, or among peace officers, or to deny communication to the person holding the hostage.
2. Each public utility which provides telephone service in this state shall designate an employee and an alternate to supervise in performing the orders of a peace officer who is carrying out the purposes of this section.
3. A reliance in good faith by a public utility on the order of a peace officer pursuant to this section constitutes a complete defense to any civil or criminal action brought against the public utility on account of any interruption, diversion, rerouting or change in telephone service made in response to the order.
Last modified: February 25, 2006