The University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD) is a state police agency that employs more than 100 sworn officers. It is a fully-functioning, accredited state police agency serving the UT community 24 hours a day. UTPD includes an investigative division, K-9 teams, bicycle teams and its own 911 dispatch center.
The department operates on a community-oriented policing philosophy, encouraging greater communication between police and the communities they serve. Members of the UT community are encouraged to use the District Representative interactive map to directly email an officer about any concerns.
What is being done to keep students safe?
- The LiveSafe at UT Austin app gives the UT community and guests to campus immediate access to police dispatch via the communication tool most frequently used—text. UTPD hopes the app will encourage users to engage and share important, potentially life-saving information, to prevent crime and enable better incident response.
- All incoming students are required to take risk prevention programs, AlcoholEdu and the Sexual Assault Prevention Program: healthyhorns.utexas.edu/AlcoholEdu/index.html
- Counseling and Mental Health Services – Provides counseling, psychiatric consultation, and prevention services: cmhc.utexas.edu
- All building major access points include first aid stations.
- The “Your ID is Your Key” initiative restricts building access during specific time to students, faculty, and staff with university ID cards or traditional keys.
- Main entrances on all campus facilities are clearly defined and enhanced with approach-way lighting, electronic access control and video interface.
- Main entrances of every academic and general-purpose classroom building are outfitted with a “safety hub” that includes an automated external defibrillator (AED), hemorrhage control kits, and an emergency call box connected to the UTPD Dispatch Center.
- Every classroom displays an emergency guide that provides instructions for certain emergency situations and includes the building address and room number for that location in case someone should need to call or text to 911.
- While UTPD and the university do a great deal to provide a safe environment, they require participation from the community to be fully effective (i.e. call 911, report theft, suspicious activity, offer suggestions, etc.).
How will students be notified of emergency situations on campus?
UTPD has a responsibility to comply with Clery Act requirements, releasing timely warnings about reported crimes to the campus community in a manner that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes, as well as providing emergency notifications within Clery Act geography when the health and safety of the campus community is at risk. The department utilizes one or more of the following methods of communication to post warnings: text messages, campus wide email, social media (Facebook & Twitter), UT Emergency and home page, UTPD Incident Notification page, campus siren system, and closed circuit television systems in residence halls and other buildings. All systems are tested monthly to provide familiarity to students:
- Text alerts
- Used to communicate a credible, immediate, ongoing threat to campus
- Alerts provide immediate direction to students, faculty and staff with specific actions to take
- Students must sign up to receive text alerts before they can register for classes at orientation
- Used to communicate crimes and incidents on and immediately near campus
- Emails provide details and updates that can aid in the prevention of similar incidents
- Students automatically receive email notifications
- Outdoor Warning Siren
- Activated in the event of certain emergencies, such as severe weather, that require people to seek shelter immediately
- Social Media and Emergency Website
- Twitter: @UTAustinPolice, @UTAustin and @AustinPolice
- Facebook: UT Austin Police, The University of Texas at Austin
How can students create a safer campus environment?
You can play a key role in creating a safe campus community by:
- Call 911 whenever you feel unsafe or utilize the LiveSafe at UT Austin app to text and send photos and videos directly to UTPD 911 dispatch.
- Walk in pairs or groups. You are safer together.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Put your phone down and keep your eyes and ears on what is happening around you.
- Developing a peer and family emergency communication plan. Whether an emergency occurs on campus or in your hometown, establish a concrete two-way communication plan so you everyone knows what is happening.
- Use the university’s safety resources:
- SURE Walk provides students with a safe escort home via an accompanied walk, golf cart or vehicle every day from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. during the fall and spring semesters. Students can call 512-232-9255.
- Students can request a ride from UTPD when SURE Walk is not operating, by calling 512-471-4441, selecting 9.
- UT Night Rides provides free Lyfts away from main campus to your home seven days a week from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Locations served mirror current UT Shuttle System routes. All rides must originate from main campus only.
- Virtual Walk- The LiveSafe at UT Austin app has a feature called Virtual Walk that allows users to share their location with anyone in the contact list when walking or riding in a vehicle.
- Behavior Concerns and COVID Advice Line (BCCAL), 512-232-5050 is a 24/7 advice line anyone can call to discuss their concerns about a student, faculty or staff’s behavior with trained staff.
- Review the Active Shooter Response Guide which also includes a video.
Meet the "Acting" Chief
In March of 2021, Don Verett was appointed Acting Chief. In his nearly 30 year history with the university, Chief Verett has commanded all divisions in UTPD, most recently as Assistant Chief of Police and Chief of Operations. He holds a Master Peace Officer certification, and is a graduate of Texas State University, UT Austin, and the 247th session of the FBI National Academy.
UTPD is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The department has been accredited since July of 2007. The department has completed the re-accreditation process 3 times since 2007. In April 2016, the department chose to seek reaccreditation using the Gold Standard Assessment. In July 2016, the department was one of twenty-one departments that received Accreditation with Excellence.
Being accredited benefits the department and The University because standards are based on best practices in policing. CALEA reviews the department annually to verify the department meets existing standards, and new standards that are drafted by the Standards Review and Interpretation Commitee of CALEA to ensure that policing practices grow and evolve to reflect 21st Century policing. Every four years CALEA completes an on-site inspection and review.
CALEA was established as an independent accreditation authority in 1979 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs' Association, and Police Executive Research Forum. The program is voluntary, and we are proud to be among the 700 plus elite law enforcement agencies in the United States that are CALEA accredited.