Fellow-Officer Rule Law and Legal Definition

Fellow officer rule is a principle of criminal procedure whereby knowledge possessed by one officer is imputed to all officers on the scene. Therefore an investigative stop or an arrest is valid even if the law-enforcement officer lacks personal knowledge to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause as long as the officer is acting on the knowledge of another officer and the collective knowledge of the law-enforcement office. The rule allows an arresting officer to assume probable cause to arrest a suspect from information supplied by other officers.

The following are examples of caselaw on the fellow-officer rule:

Under the "fellow officer" rule, law enforcement officers may pool their information, and reasonable suspicion is to be determined on the basis of the collective knowledge of all the officers involved.[United States v. Luginbyhl, 321 Fed. Appx. 780 (10th Cir. Okla. 2009)]

Florida's "fellow officer rule" states that, when an arresting officer was absent for a significant portion of events giving rise to probable cause, the arresting officer may rely upon his fellow officer's judgment about probable cause. [Williams v. Miami-Dade Police Dep't, 297 Fed. Appx. 941, 946 (11th Cir. Fla. 2008)]

Fellow officer rule is also known as Whiteley rule.