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Title Administration / Policy B-17
Effective Date 3-10-07
Rescinds 10-1-06
Subject Release of Information
Purpose To establish policy for release of information.
Scope This directive applies to all personnel.
Reference SOP 17, Policy B-19, and Jeanne Clery Act
  1. Definitions:
    1. Commander’s Report: An UTPD document for the purpose of informing the public of criminal activity. Copies of this report are made available for viewing by the public during regular Records hours of operation. Hard copies are available upon written request. This report complies with the Crime Log requirements under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
  2. Media Releases or Incidents Involving Police Personnel:
    1. Media inquiries should be forwarded to the director of communications for Employee and Campus Services. The director of communications will coordinate a response to the inquiry with the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
    2. In the absence of the director of communications, inquiries should be forwarded to the Chief, Assistant Chief of Police or one of the two Captains. These individuals will coordinate a response while keeping the associate vice president of Campus Safety and Security and the vice president for University Operations informed during the process.
    3. All requests for on-camera interviews relating to media releases or incidents involving police personnel should be forwarded to the director of communications for University Operations for coordinated response with the Chief of Police, or designee.
    4. The Chief of Police or designee will:
      1. Prepare draft media releases with the support of the director of communications. Finalized media releases will be forwarded (by the director of communications) to the Office of Public Affairs for distribution.
      2. Coordinate and authorize the release of information about victims, witnesses and suspects.
      3. Assist in crisis situations within the agency.
      4. Coordinate the release of information concerning confidential investigations/operations.
    5. Major Scenes
      1. In the event of a major fire, natural disaster, or other catastrophic event, a media area will be designated to follow with best practices and Incident Command protocol.
        1. The initial area chosen should be large enough to accommodate satellite trucks, temporary shelters, and food services for an extended event.
        2. The area should be near the command post to facilitate news briefings, and live shots of the scene without interfering with operations.
      2. At Crime Scenes, an area should be chosen that the media can be sent to in order to meet with the designated Public Information Officer. Officers manning perimeter posts shall not allow the media to cross crime scene lines unless the media is accompanied with the designated PIO. Officers shall keep in mind that the agency does not have authority to regulate media outside the crime scene perimeter.
  3. Routine Calls or General Information Requests:
    1. Inquiries regarding general information requests or daily activity information should be forwarded to the Shift Commander at the commander’s desk. If a commander is not at the commander’s desk, calls should be forwarded to their cell phone.
    2. Inquiries regarding an incident in progress (example: fire – chemical spill) should be forwarded to the on scene Incident Commander and command’s assigned PIO (usually AFD).
    3. Calls for statistical data/records should be forwarded to the records supervisor, or designee.
    4. Calls or requests for on-camera interviews relating to crime prevention (special programs or trends) should be forwarded to the director of communications who will coordinate and schedule interviews with the Crime Prevention Unit..
    5. Nothing in this policy is to construe that it is necessary to respond immediately to media inquiries except for notifying the appropriate official(s) that a media request has been made. There may be situations when further consultation with superior officers or other University officials is necessary prior to providing the news media with information.
  4. Guidelines for Releasing Information:
    1. Inquiries regarding juveniles should be coordinated with the CIU primary juvenile officer.
    2. If the request solicits a copy of the offense report, only a copy of the first page of the offense report should be provided through coordination with the records supervisor and the Office of the Vice President of Financial Affairs.
  5. Release of Information in Criminal Investigations:
    1. Subject to the limitations set forth below, release officials may respond to inquiries about criminal investigations in which the department is involved.
    2. Release of information concerning criminal investigations may be made by the release official after consultation with the investigating officer(s).
    3. When an investigation is being conducted jointly with other agencies, media management will be coordinated in consultation with all agencies involved.
    4. Once an arrest has been made and primary responsibility for a case has shifted to the prosecutor, inquiries should be referred to the appropriate county or district attorney.
    5. The names of offenders under age 17 should not normally be released.
    6. The following information regarding criminal matters may not be released.
      1. The prior criminal record (including arrests, indictments, or other charges of crime) or the character or reputation of the accused. The release official may make a factual statement of the accused’s name, age, residence, occupation, and family status. If the accused has not been apprehended, the release official may release any information necessary to aid in this persons apprehension or to warn the pubic of any danger they may present.
      2. The existence or contents of any confession, admission, or statement given by the accused, or the refusal or failure of the accused to make any statement.
      3. The details or results of any laboratory examination of evidence in the case or the results or failure of the accused to submit to any examination including polygraph and breath.
      4. The identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses, except that the release official may announce the identity of the victim(s).
      5. The possibility of a plea of guilty to the offense charged or a lesser offense.
      6. Any opinion as to the accused’s guilt or innocence or as to the merits of the case or the evidence in the case.
      7. No member of this department shall deliberately pose a person in custody for photographs or televising by representation of the media.
  6. Release Before Arrest or Charge:
    1. Pursuant to the Clery Act, the following information will be released:
      1. Record (by date reported) all crimes reported to the campus police department:
      2. The nature of the crime.
      3. The date, time and general location.
      4. The disposition of the complaint (if known).
  7. Releases After Arrest or Charge:
    1. The following front page information is generally available for release through the Vice President of Financial Affairs Office:
      1. Name, aliases, race, sex, age, occupation, address, police department identification number, and physical condition
      2. Offense for which suspect arrested
      3. Identification and description of complainant
      4. Location of crime
      5. Time of occurrence
      6. Vehicle involved
      7. Property involved
      8. Detailed description of offense
      9. Name of arresting officers
      10. Date and time of arrest
      11. Place of arrest
      12. Description of weather
      13. Booking information
      14. Court in which charge is filed
      15. Notation of any release or transfer
      16. Bonding information
      17. Numbers for statistical purposes relating to modus operandi of those apprehended
  8. Confidential Information:
    1. The nature of departmental business requires that confidential information frequently clear through office staff, PBX operators, supervisors, and other employees. No employee shall divulge to any unauthorized persons, including a member of their family, any confidential information obtained through the execution of departmental duties.
  9. Public Speeches and Articles:
    1. The public statements of employees must conform to the prescribed policies of the department. Any statement for public release concerning affairs of the department, that has not been released to the public, must be authorized by the Chief of Police.
  10. Entrance to an Area of a Serious Police Incident or Crime Scene:
    1. Photographs may be taken in a public place.
    2. Photographs of suspects in custody will not be authorized within University Police Building unless authorized by the Chief of Police.
  11. Response to Questions at Police Incident of Crime Scene:
    1. Officers should be aware that their response to questions, whether specific or general, might prejudice the rights of an accused, violate legal privileges, or endanger an investigation. Therefore, officers should refer all questions to the public information officer.
  12. Dissemination of Reports:
    1. Reports involving UT students are forwarded to the Dean of Students Office and Division of Housing and Food Services if involved in dormitories or student housing.
      1. Incident Report: Copy (unless active investigation)
      2. Arrests: Copy of affidavit
      3. Exceptionally Cleared: Copy
      4. Offenses Being Investigated: No copies, although summaries may be provided if requested by the Dean of Students Office and approved by the investigating officer.
    2. Reports for insurance companies:
      1. Copies of collisions
      2. Offenses involving property loss, only public information is provided (no narratives are included on these copies)
      3. Copies of incidents, unless the report contains medical or private information regarding an individual
    3. Arrests:
      1. Copies of offense, statements and attachments to appropriate courts.
    4. Money shortages — Internal Audits
      1. UT Property with Serial Number — Offenses or Incidents: Copy to UT Inventory as requested.
    5. Public:
      1. Offenses — copies of property loss (theft & damage) to include only front page information; no narratives are released on offenses except as ordered by the Texas Attorney General’s Office through the Office of the Vice President of Financial Affairs.
      2. Incidents — Copies, unless report contains medical or private information regarding an individual
      3. Collisions — Requestor must provide two or more of the following:
        1. The date of the accident
        2. The specific address or the highway or the street where the accident occurred
        3. The name of any person involved in the accident.
    6. Open records requests —All open records requests should be forwarded to the Office of the Vice President of Financial Affairs.