UC Santa Cruz PD Policy Manual
University of California Santa Cruz Police Department




This policy provides guidelines for issuing firearms, the safe and legal carrying of firearms, firearms maintenance and firearms training.

This policy does not apply to issues related to the use of firearms that are addressed in the Use of Force or Officer-Involved Shootings and Deaths policies.

This policy only applies to those members who are authorized to carry firearms.


313.2    POLICY

The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department will equip its members with firearms to address the risks posed to the public and its members by violent and sometimes well-armed persons. The UC Santa Cruz Police Department will ensure firearms are appropriate and in good working order and that relevant training is provided as resources allow.


Firearms-Mounted Light Systems are approved for use only on the Primary Handgun and the Patrol Rifle.

 (a) Light systems approved for use shall be light only and shall not include a combination light/laser, or laser-only system.

 (b) Primary Handguns with a Firearms-Mounted Light System shall be carried in a Department-approved holster designed to fit the light system.

 (c) Proficiency with  the  holster  and   the   Firearms-Mounted   Light   System   shall be demonstrated during annual qualification under the supervision of the Rangemaster and/or designee.

 (d) Sworn members are required to carry a Department-approved flashlight when using the Firearms-Mounted Light System.

 (e) The Firearms-Mounted Light System shall not be used in lieu of a flashlight during routine law-enforcement activities.



Members shall only use firearms that are issued or approved by the Department and have been thoroughly inspected by the Rangemaster. Except in an emergency or as directed by a supervisor, no firearm shall be carried by a member who has not qualified with that firearm at an authorized department range.

All other weapons not provided by the Department, including but not limited to edged weapons, chemical or electronic weapons, impact weapons or any weapon prohibited or restricted by law or that is not covered elsewhere by department policy, may not be carried by members in the performance of their official duties without the express written authorization of the Chief of Police or designee. This exclusion does not apply to the carrying of a single folding pocketknife that is not otherwise prohibited by law.

313.3.1 HANDGUNS

The authorized department-issued handgun is the Glock Model 17 9mm


The authorized department-issued patrol rifle is the Colt AR-15 M4 Carbine / LE6940.

Members may deploy the patrol rifle in any circumstance where the member can articulate a reasonable expectation that the rifle may be needed. Examples of some general guidelines for deploying the patrol rifle may include but are not limited to:

 (a) Situations where the member reasonably anticipates an armed encounter.

 (b) When a member is faced with a situation that may require accurate and effective fire at long range.

 (c) Situations where a member reasonably expects the need to meet or exceed a suspect's firepower.

 (d) When a member reasonably believes that there may be a need to fire on a barricaded person or a person with a hostage.

 (e) When a member reasonably believes that a suspect may be wearing body armor.

 (f) When authorized or requested by a supervisor.

 (g) When needed to euthanize an animal.

When not deployed, the patrol rifle shall be properly secured consistent with department training in a locking weapons rack in the patrol vehicle or the department armory.


Members shall only carry duty firearms issued by the department in accordance with 313.3, 313.3.1, and 313.3.2.



Members desiring to carry department or personally owned secondary handguns are subject to the following restrictions:

 (a) The handgun shall be in good working order and on the department list of approved firearms.

 (b) Only one secondary handgun may be carried at a time.

 (c) The purchase of the handgun and ammunition shall be the responsibility of the member unless the handgun and ammunition are provided by the Department.

 (d) The handgun shall be carried concealed at all times and in such a manner as to prevent unintentional cocking, discharge or loss of physical control.

 (e) The handgun shall be inspected by the Rangemaster prior to being carried and thereafter shall be subject to inspection whenever it is deemed necessary.

 (f) Ammunition shall be the same as department issue. If the caliber of the handgun is other than department issue, the Chief of Police or the authorized designee shall approve the ammunition.

 (g) Prior to carrying the secondary handgun, members shall qualify under range supervision and thereafter shall qualify in accordance with the department qualification schedule. Members must demonstrate proficiency and safe handling, and that the handgun functions properly.

 (h) Members shall provide written notice of the make, model, color, serial number and caliber of a secondary handgun to the Rangemaster, who will maintain a list of the


The carrying of firearms by members while off-duty is permitted by the Chief of Police but may be rescinded should circumstances dictate (e.g., administrative leave). Members who choose to carry a firearm while off-duty, based on their authority as peace officers, will be required to meet the following guidelines:

 (a) The member may use his/her duty firearm or may use a personally owned firearm that is carried and inspected in accordance with the Authorized Secondary Handgun Firearms requirements in this policy. A member carrying his/her duty firearm will be deemed to have complied with (c), (d) and (e) of this section.

  1. The purchase of the personally owned firearm and ammunition shall be the responsibility of the member.

 (b) The firearm shall be carried concealed at all times and in such a manner as to prevent accidental unintentional cocking, discharge or loss of physical control.

 (c) It will be the responsibility of the member to submit the firearm to the Rangemaster for inspection prior to being personally Thereafter the firearm shall be subject to periodic inspection by the Rangemaster.

 (d) Prior to carrying any off-duty firearm, the member shall demonstrate to the Rangemaster that he/she is proficient in handling and firing the firearm and that it will be carried in a safe manner.

 (e) The member will successfully qualify with the firearm prior to it being carried.

 (f) Members shall provide written notice of the make, model, color, serial number and caliber of the firearm to the Rangemaster, who will maintain a list of the information.

 (g) If a member desires to use more than one firearm while off-duty, he/she may do so, as long as all requirements set forth in this policy for each firearm are met.

 (h) Members shall only carry department-authorized ammunition.

 (i) When armed, officers shall carry their badges and University of California Santa Cruz Police Department identification cards under circumstances requiring possession of such identification.


Members shall carry only department-authorized ammunition. Members shall be issued fresh duty ammunition in the specified quantity for all department-issued firearms during the member’s firearms qualification. Replacements for unserviceable or depleted ammunition issued by the Department shall be dispensed by the Rangemaster when needed, in accordance with established policy.

Members carrying personally owned authorized firearms of a caliber differing from department- issued firearms shall be responsible for obtaining fresh duty ammunition in accordance with the above, at their own expense.


313.4    EQUIPMENT

Firearms carried on- or off-duty shall be maintained in a clean, serviceable condition. Maintenance and repair of authorized personally owned firearms are the responsibility of the individual member.


Each member shall be responsible for promptly reporting any damage or malfunction of an assigned firearm to a supervisor or the Rangemaster.

Firearms that are the property of the Department or personally owned firearms that are approved for department use may be repaired or modified only by a person who is department-approved and certified as an armorer or gunsmith in the repair of the specific firearm. Such modification or repair must be authorized in advance by the Rangemaster.

Any repairs or modifications to the member’s personally owned firearm shall be done at his/her expense and must be approved by the Rangemaster.

313.4.2 HOLSTERS

Only department-approved holsters shall be used and worn by members. Members shall periodically inspect their holsters to make sure they are serviceable and provide the proper security and retention of the handgun.


Tactical lights may only be installed on a firearm carried on- or off-duty after they have been examined and approved by the Rangemaster. Once the approved tactical lights have been properly installed on any firearm, the member shall qualify with the firearm to ensure proper functionality and sighting of the firearm prior to carrying it.


Optics or holographic sights may only be installed on a firearm carried on- or off-duty after    they have been examined and approved by the Rangemaster. Any approved sight shall only   be installed in strict accordance with manufacturer specifications. Once approved sights have been properly installed on any firearm, the member shall qualify with the firearm to ensure proper functionality and sighting of the firearm prior to carrying it.

Except in an approved training situation, a member may only sight in on a target when the member would otherwise be justified in pointing a firearm at the target.



Members shall maintain the highest level of safety when handling firearms and shall consider the following:

 (a) Members shall not unnecessarily display or handle any firearm.

 (b) Members shall be governed by all rules and regulations pertaining to the use of the range and shall obey all orders issued by the Rangemaster. Members shall not dry fire or practice quick draws except as instructed by the Rangemaster or other firearms training staff.

 (c) Members shall not clean, repair, load or unload a firearm anywhere in the Department, except where clearing barrels are present.

 (d) Rifles removed from vehicles or the equipment storage room shall be loaded and unloaded in areas with clearing barrels.

 (e) Members shall not place or store any firearm or other weapon on department premises except where the place of storage is locked. No one shall carry firearms into the jail section or any part thereof when securing or processing an arrestee, but shall place all firearms in a secured Members providing access to the jail section to persons from outside agencies are responsible for ensuring firearms are not brought into the jail section.

 (f) Members shall not use any automatic firearm, heavy caliber rifle, gas or other type of chemical weapon or firearm from the armory, except with approval of the Chief of Police or designee.

 (g) Any firearm authorized by the Department to be carried on- or off-duty that is determined by a member to be malfunctioning or in  need  of  service  or  repair shall not be carried. It shall be promptly presented to the Department or a Rangemaster approved by the Department for inspection and repair. Any firearm deemed in need of repair or service by the Rangemaster will be immediately removed from If the firearm is the member’s primary duty firearm, a replacement firearm will be issued to the member until the duty firearm is serviceable.


Handguns shall be inspected annually and upon access or possession by another person. Rifles shall be inspected at the beginning of the shift by the member to whom the weapon is issued. The member shall ensure that the firearm is carried in the proper condition and loaded with approved ammunition. Inspection of the rifle shall be done while standing inside the armory utilizing the clearing barrel.. All firearms shall be pointed in a safe direction or into clearing barrels.

Personally owned firearms and department issued handguns may be safely stored in lockers   at the end of the shift. Handguns may remain loaded if they are secured in an appropriate holster. OtherDepartment-owned firearms shall be stored in the armory. Rifles shall be unloaded in a safe manner in areas of a clearing barrel, pointed in a safe direction then stored in the armory.


Members shall ensure that all firearms and ammunition are locked and secured while in their homes, vehicles or any other area under their control, and in a manner that will keep them inaccessible to children and others who should not have access. Members shall not permit department-issued firearms to be handled by anyone not authorized by the Department to do so. Members should be aware that negligent storage of a firearm could result in civil and criminal liability (Penal Code § 25100).


When leaving a handgun in an unattended vehicle, members shall ensure that it is locked in the trunk, or in a locked container that is placed out of view, or in a locked container that is permanently affixed to the vehicle’s interior and not in plain view, or in a locked toolbox or utility box permanently affixed to the vehicle (Penal Code § 16850; Penal Code § 25140; Penal Code § 25452).

If the vehicle does not have a trunk or a locked container, then the firearm should be locked within the center utility console that can be locked with a padlock, keylock, combination lock, or other similar locking device (Penal Code § 25140).

Officers are exempt from these requirements during circumstances requiring immediate aid or action in the course of official duties (Penal Code § 25140).


Firearms shall not be carried by any member, either on- or off-duty, who has consumed an amount of an alcoholic beverage, taken any drugs or medication, or has taken any combination thereof that would tend to adversely affect the member’s senses or judgment.



All members who carry a firearm while on-duty are required to successfully complete training bi- annually with their duty firearms. In addition to bi-annual training, all members will qualify at least annually with their duty firearms. Members will qualify with off-duty and secondary firearms at leas once a year. Training and qualifications must be on an approved range course.

At least annually, all members carrying a firearm should receive practical training designed to simulate field situations including low-light shooting.


If any member fails to meet minimum standards for firearms training or qualification for any reason, including injury, illness, duty status or scheduling conflict, the rangemaster shall submit a memorandum to the Chief of Police or designee prior to the end of the required training or qualification period. The memorandum shall outline the reasons that a member failed to meet minimum standards or qualification, and propose a remedy to become compliant.

Those who fail to meet minimum standards or qualify on their first shooting attempt shall be provided remedial training and will be subject to the following requirements:

 (a) Additional range assignments may be scheduled to assist the member in demonstrating consistent firearm proficiency.

 (b) Members shall be given credit for a range training or qualification when obtaining a qualifying score or meeting standards after remedial training.

 (c) No range credit will be given for the following:

 (d) Unauthorized range make-up

 (e) Failure to meet minimum standards or qualify after remedial training

Members who repeatedly fail to meet minimum standards will be removed from field assignment and may be subject to disciplinary action.



Except during training or recreational use, any member who discharges a firearm intentionally  or unintentionally, on- or off-duty, shall make a verbal report to his/her supervisor as soon as circumstances permit. If the discharge results in injury or death to another person, additional statements and reports shall be made in accordance with the Officer-Involved Shootings and Deaths Policy. If a firearm was discharged as a use of force, the involved member shall adhere to the additional reporting requirements set forth in the Use of Force Policy.

In all other cases, written reports shall be made as follows:

 (a) If on-duty at the time of the incident, the member shall file a written report with his/her Division Commander or provide a recorded statement to investigators prior to the end of shift, unless otherwise directed.

 (b) If off-duty at the time of the incident, the member shall file a written report or provide a recorded statement no later than the end of the next regularly scheduled shift, unless otherwise directed by a supervisor.


Members are authorized to use firearms to stop an animal in circumstances where the animal reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to human safety and alternative methods are not reasonably available or would likely be ineffective.

In circumstances where there is sufficient advance notice that a potentially dangerous animal may be encountered, department members should develop reasonable contingency plans for dealing with the animal (e.g., fire extinguisher, Conducted Energy Device, oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, animal control officer). Nothing in this policy shall prohibit any member from shooting a dangerous animal if circumstances reasonably dictate that a contingency plan has failed or becomes impractical.


With the approval of a supervisor, a member may euthanize an animal that is so badly injured that human compassion requires its removal from further suffering and where other dispositions are impractical.

Stray or abandoned injured animals that may be moved or taken to an available veterinarian, should be referred to the Santa Cruz County Animal Services Unit and/or to a local animal rescue association, and should not be euthanized. With supervisor approval, abandoned injured animals (with the exception of dogs and cats) may only be euthanized after a reasonable search to locate the owner has been made. Injured dogs and cats found without their owners shall be referred   to the Santa Cruz County Animal Services Unit and/or taken to an appropriate veterinarian for determination of whether they should be treated or humanely destroyed (Penal Code § 597.1).


Warning shots or shots fired for the purpose of summoning aid are discouraged and may not   be discharged unless the member reasonably believes that they appear necessary, likely to be effective and reasonably safe.



The range will be under the exclusive control of the Rangemaster. All members attending will follow the directions of the Rangemaster. The Rangemaster will maintain a roster of all members attending the range and will submit the roster to the Training Sergeant after each range date. Failure of any member to sign in and out with the Rangemaster may result in non-qualification.

The range shall remain operational and accessible to department members during hours established by the Department.

The Rangemaster has the responsibility of making periodic inspection, at least once a year, of all duty firearms carried by members of this department to verify proper operation. The Rangemaster has the authority to deem any department-issued or personally owned firearm unfit for service. The member will be responsible for all repairs to his/her personally owned firearm and it will not be returned to service until inspected by the Rangemaster or their designee

The Rangemaster or their designee has the responsibility for ensuring each member meets the minimum requirements during training shoots and, on at least a yearly basis, can demonstrate proficiency in the care, cleaning and safety of all firearms the member is authorized to carry.

The  Rangemaster  or  their  designee  shall  complete  and  submit  to   the   Training   Sergeant documentation of the training courses provided. Documentation shall include the qualifications of each instructor who provides the training, a description of the training provided and, on a form that has been approved by the Department, a list of each member who completes the training. The Rangemaster should keep accurate records of all training shoots, qualifications, repairs, maintenance or other records as directed by the Training Sergeant.


 (a) When not assigned for deployment in the field, patrol rifles will be stored and locked in the Department armory.

 (b) The inventory for patrol rifle serial numbers assigned to UC Santa Cruz Police Department patrol vehicles will be logged and maintained in the Rangemaster's log.

 (c) When deployed on patrol, patrol rifles should be secured in their respective locked vehicle gun racks.

 (d) At the end of the assigned officer's shift, he/she will check to ensure the patrol rifle is removed from the patrol vehicle, safely unloaded, and secured in the Department armory.



The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has imposed rules governing law enforcement officers flying armed on commercial aircraft. The following requirements apply to officers who intend to be armed while flying on a commercial air carrier or flights where screening is conducted (49 CFR 1544.219):

 (a) Officers wishing to fly while armed must be flying in an official capacity, not for vacation or pleasure, and must have a need to have the firearm accessible, as determined by the Department based on the law and published TSA rules.

 (b) Officers must  carry  their  University  of  California  Santa  Cruz  Police  Department identification card, bearing the officer’s name, a full-face photograph, identification number, the officer’s signature and the signature of the Chief of Police or the official seal of the Department and must present this identification to airline officials when The officer should also carry the standard photo identification needed for passenger screening by airline and TSA officials (e.g., driver license, passport).

 (c) The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department must submit a National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) message prior to the officer’s travel. If approved, TSA will send the University of California Santa Cruz Police Department an NLETS message containing a unique alphanumeric identifier. The officer must present the message on the day of travel to airport personnel as authorization to travel while armed.

 (d) An official letter signed by the Chief of Police authorizing armed travel may also accompany the officer. The letter should outline the officer’s need to fly armed, detail his/her itinerary, and include that the officer has completed the mandatory TSA training for a law enforcement officer flying while armed.

 (e) Officers must have completed the mandated TSA security training  covering  officers flying while armed. The training shall be given by the department-appointed instructor.

 (f) It is the officer’s responsibility to notify the air carrier in advance of the intended armed This notification should be accomplished by early check-in at the carrier’s check-in counter.

 (g) Any officer flying while armed should discreetly contact the flight crew prior to take-off and notify them of his/her assigned seat.

 (h) Discretion must be used to avoid alarming passengers or crew by displaying a firearm. The officer must keep the firearm concealed on his/her person at all times. Firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage and may not be stored in an overhead compartment.

 (i) Officers should try to resolve any problems associated with flying armed through the flight captain, ground security manager, TSA representative or other management representative of the air carrier.

 (j) Officers shall not consume alcoholic beverages while aboard an aircraft, or within eight hours prior to boarding an aircraft.



Qualified, active, full-time officers of this department are authorized to carry a concealed firearm in all other states subject to the following conditions (18 USC § 926B):

 (a) The officer shall carry his/her University of California Santa Cruz Police Department identification card whenever carrying such firearm.

 (b) The officer is not the subject of any current disciplinary action.

 (c) The officer may not be under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating or hallucinatory drug.

 (d) The officer will remain subject to this and all other department policies (including qualifying and training).

Officers are cautioned that individual states may enact local regulations that permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property, or that prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any state or local government property, installation, building, base or park. Federal authority may not shield an officer from arrest and prosecution in such locally restricted areas.

Active law enforcement officers from other states are subject to all requirements set forth in 18 USC § 926B.




Policy 313 PDF