Whiteley Rule Law and Legal Definition

The Whiteley rule allows law enforcement officers to rely on information from other officers to establish probable cause. Effective law enforcement cannot be conducted unless police officers can act on directions and information transmitted by one officer to another. The standard was set in the case Whiteley v. Warden, 401 U.S. 560 (U.S. 1971) wherein it was established that if an officer has probable cause and communicates that fact to a second officer, the second officer also enjoys the benefit of that probable cause.

Whiteley rule is also known as fellow officer rule or collective knowledge doctrine.

The following is an example of a case law summarizing Whiteley rule:

Whiteley stands for the broad principle that a police officer, with proper justification for an arrest or a search (with or without a warrant), may multiply his available arms and legs to excute his purpose by calling upon other policemen to aid him. He does not have to impart to each of his executing agents the building blocks of probable cause that mounted up to his justification. The immediate holding of Whiteley was that, just as a justification for police action is not diminished in transmission, neither is it enhanced. If the justification is adequate at the point where the message is transmitted, it is no less so at the point where the message is received. Conversely, if the justification is inadequate at the point where the message is transmitted, that inadequacy endures and will not somehow be dissipated on the wires or on the airwaves. In transmission nothing is lost and nothing is gained. [McDonald v. State, 253 Ark. 812, 815B (Ark. 1973)]