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Title Operations / Policy A-8
Effective Date 10-5-09
Rescinds 09-29-09
Subject Timely Warning
Purpose To establish policy regarding the responsibility to provide timely.
Scope This directive applies to all personnel.
Statement of Purpose: The University of Texas at Austin Police Department has a responsibility to provide timely warnings about reported crimes to the campus community in a manner that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes.
  1. Implementing a Timely Warning:
    1. A warning must be issued when both of the following conditions are met: (1) arson, aggravated assault, criminal homicide, robbery, sex offenses, illegal weapons possession, burglary, motor vehicle theft, or any crime determined to be a hate crime is reported to UTPD or other campus security authorities, and (2) the crime is considered by the University to represent a continuing threat to students or employees.
    2. A warning may be issued regarding other crimes as deemed necessary by UTPD.
    3. The Chief of Police, or his designee, is responsible for making the decision whether a timely warning will be issued.
  2. Determining Whether a Continued Threat Exists:
    1. Whether a reported crime constitutes a continuing threat must be decided on a case-by-case basis in light of all the facts surrounding a crime, including factors such as the nature of the crime, the continuing danger to the campus community and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.
    2. Examples of crimes that could constitute a continuing threat include but are not limited to:
      1. a serial crime that targets certain campus populations such as sex crimes or race-based crimes in which the perpetrator has not been apprehended;
      2. a crime in which there is no apparent connection between perpetrator and victim and the perpetrator has not been apprehended.
    3. Crimes that would not constitute a continuing threat include but are not limited to:
      1. crimes in which the perpetrator has been apprehended, thereby neutralizing the threat;
      2. crimes in which an identified perpetrator targets specific individuals to the exclusion of others, such as domestic violence.
  3. Warning Notice Content:
    1. The warning must contain sufficient information about the nature of the threat to allow members of the campus to take action to protect themselves.
      1. A succinct statement of the incident.
      2. Possible connection to previous incidents, if applicable.
      3. Physical description of the suspect.
      4. Composite drawing of the suspect, if available.
      5. Date and time the warning was released.
      6. Other relevant and important information.
    2. In some cases, law enforcement may need to keep some facts confidential to avoid compromising an investigation.
  4. Timing of the Warning:
    1. In an immediate and serious threat, e.g., an active shooter on campus, a warning may need to be issued immediately with few facts and then be continually updated until the threat is contained or neutralized.
    2. If a threat that is less immediate, the warning can go out later after facts are more fully developed.
  5. Distribution:
    1. The warning must be distributed in a manner reasonably likely to reach the entire campus community.
    2. Depending on the circumstances, any of the following methods, or combination thereof, may be used:
      1. Posting of notices
      2. Campus-wide email
      3. Text message
      4. Activation of the campus siren system
      5. Posting to The University of Texas home page
      6. Press release
      7. Closed circuit television systems in residence halls & other buildings
      8. Voice message over various public address systems