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UPPS 01.04.40 - Reporting Criminal Offenses

Reporting Criminal Offenses

UPPS No. 01.04.40
Issue No. 4
Effective Date: 7/14/2017
Next Review Date: 6/01/2021 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Director, University Police Department


    1. Texas State University expects its employees to follow all rules, policies, and laws and also expects its employees to report actual or suspected violations and crimes to the appropriate department.

    1. Suspected – to believe or feel that an individual is involved in an illegal or dishonest act or unpleasant act that meets the standards of either reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

    2. Probable Cause – probable cause to arrest exists where “the facts and circumstances within [the officers’] knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information [are] sufficient in themselves to warrant a person of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed [by the person to be arrested].” Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175-76 (1949).

    3. Reasonable Suspicion – sufficient articulable facts and circumstances, and reasonable inferences drawn from those facts, that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that criminal activity is afoot.

    4. Evidence – anything, physical or biological, that may reconstruct the crime, identify the elements, obtain the facts, establish motive, develop suspects, apprehend offenders, or provide something that is legal to submit to a competent tribunal as a means of ascertaining the truth of any alleged matter or act under investigation before it.

    5. Seizure of Electronic Data Storage Devices – in the event that an electronic data storage device needs to be seized for evidence processing, the department will not take any action until notifying the University Police Department (UPD). Any action will be under the direction of a police officer, a trained information technology employee from the university, or other trained individual available for this purpose to assist in preserving the evidence. The officer in charge of the scene will fill out an evidence tag, seize, and secure the property within the UPD evidence room. In the event a trained individual is unavailable, the equipment will be seized following the guidelines specified in the U.S. Secret Service’s “Best Practices for Seizing Electronic Evidence v.3 A Pocket Guide for First Responders.” This document is available for download from the UPD website, “Best Practices Electronic Evidence v3.”

    6. Chain of Custody – a written record indicating each change in the custodial responsibility of an article of evidence. This will be documented on the property tag. The chain of custody will include all of the following information that is applicable to the custody transfer:

      1. name of the person last having custody of the item;

      2. reason for transfer of item in custody;

      3. date and time of submission or mailing and method used for transmission, if applicable;

      4. name and location of laboratory, if applicable;

      5. date and time of receipt in the laboratory, if applicable;

      6. synopsis of event and explanation of examinations requested, if applicable; and

      7. name and signature of the person receiving the evidence and the person’s functional responsibility.


    1. All Texas State employees have an obligation to report actual or suspected crimes such as physical harm, theft, fraud, embezzlement, destruction of property, or other irregularities resulting in the loss of cash, property, or other assets of the university to UPD. Such reporting should be as timely and concurrent as possible to preserve and facilitate the collection of evidence under law enforcement supervision. A collection of evidence includes the seizure of electronic data storage devices as defined in Section 02.05.

    2. Employees are expected to cooperate with police and internal audit investigations. Investigations conducted by these offices are confidential.

    3. Section 554.002 of the Government Code prohibits retaliation against employees who, in good faith, report violations of law to appropriate law enforcement authorities.


    1. Employees who reasonably believe that a criminal offense has been committed involving a guest or member of the university community (this includes students, faculty, staff, and members of the macro community of the City of San Marcos) should report the suspected criminal act to UPD. Employees who are unsure about filing a UPD report should seek immediate guidance from their supervisor or administrative head. UPD should notify the Office of Audits & Analysis, in cases involving theft, fraud, embezzlement, and irregularities resulting in the loss of cash or other assets of the university, or when the Office of Audits & Analysis requests such information.

    2. The director, Office of Audits & Analysis, will report criminal offenses to UPD.

    3. The assistant vice president for Human Resources (HR), should report suspected or actual criminal offenses to UPD. The assistant vice president for HR will notify UPD when HR is contacted about an involuntary termination resulting from a personnel matter involving a suspected or actual criminal offense.


    1. UPD will involve an internal auditor when investigating the possible loss or misappropriation of university assets and may have an internal auditor present when interviewing parties thought to have knowledge of the possible loss or misappropriation.

    2. In the course of an investigation, UPD or the Office of Audits & Analysis may require access to university information resources (e.g., electronic mail, centrally-managed file shares, employee computers, etc.). In all such situations, investigators shall request access from the vice president for Information Technology (IT) in accordance with Section 07. of UPPS No. 04.01.02, Information Resources Identity and Access Management. The request shall specify any evidence preservation or chain of custody procedures to be followed by IT staff.


    1. UPD and internal audit reports will follow established procedures. Police officers will forward copies of their reports to the appropriate district attorney.

    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Director, University Police Department June 1 E4Y
      Captain of Patrol, University Police Department June 1 E4Y
      Sergeant of Criminal Investigations Division, University Police Department June 1 E4Y

    This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Director, University Police Department; senior reviewer of this UPPS

    Vice President for Student Affairs