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



Major Incident Notification


In order to provide guidance and advice, as well as make timely notifications to appropriate officials, and address inquiries from the members of the press, it is critical that incidents of a significant nature, that fall into listed criteria, require notification to the Chief of Police, Police Lieutenant, and department managers (if applicable).

This notification allows for the administrators to properly respond in the event of an emergency, major crime or an event likely to have an impact on the department or community.

Contact information will be maintained in the dispatch center.


359.2     POLICY

The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department recognizes that certain incidents should be brought to the attention of supervisors or other specified personnel of this department to facilitate the coordination of activities and ensure that inquiries from the media and the public may be properly addressed.



Most situations where the media show a strong interest are also in interest to the Chief of Police.In deciding when to make notification, personnel must evaluate the potential seriousness of the incident based on several factors including:

  • Type of crime or incident;
  • Health and/or safety;
  • The general welfare of the community;
  • Potential liability;
  • Public relations.

The following list of incident types is provided as a guide for notification and is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  • Homicides or any death within the jurisdiction;
  • Death or injury to employee – on or off duty;
  • Death or injury of a University of California, Santa Cruz official -- on or off duty;
  • In-custody deaths
  • Officer involved shooting – on or off duty (See §310.53 for special notifications);
  • Use of force incidents resulting in injury or complaint of pain;
  • Officer involved traffic accidents;
  • Pursuits
  • SWAT or Critical Incident Negotiation incidents;
  • Arrest of a Department employee or prominent University of California, Santa Cruzofficial;
  • Traffic accidents with fatalities or serious injuries;
  • Aircraft crash;
  • Sexual assaults (except late reported – more than 72 hours);
  • Child abductions;
  • Allfires;
  • Bomb threats;
  • Riot or major campus disruption;
  • Robbery;
  • Hate crime or bias related incident
  • Natural or man-made disasters (including CBRNE incidents);
  • Events or incidents that would require a timely warning or emergency notification(Clery Act);
  • Major investigation involving an outside agency;
  • Complaints of any nature involving a Department member;
  • Missing persons;
  • Workplace injuries/illnesses requiring (or potentially requiring) notifying CAL OSHA.
  • Hazardous material incidents requiring clean up, waste disposal and/or regulatory
  • Any other event that could attract media attention.



The Watch Commander (Shift Sergeant, shift supervisor or OIC) is responsible for making the appropriate notifications.The Watch Commander shall make reasonable efforts to obtain as much information on the incident as possible before notification.The Watch Commander shall attempt to make the notifications as soon as feasible to do so.Notification should be made by calling the issued cell phone number first, then by calling the home number.If no contact is made within a reasonable time, attempts should be made to contact another Administrator until one is located. 

The Dispatch Center may make the necessary notifications in lieu of the Watch Commander, when requested to do so.



In the event an incident occurs described in §359.3, in all instances the Chief of Police and Lieutenant shall be contacted as soon as it is feasible to do so. An exception is made for a late reported sexual assault that is made during non-business hours, in which case they should be notified at a reasonable hour.

Although some cases do not require that the Chief of Police or Lieutenant be notified immediately, whenever a Watch Commander believes that the matter is urgent or important enough, they should make the notification without reservation, regardless of the hour. 



If the incident requires a detective to respond from home, or additional resources not readily available, the Watch Commander will make the appropriate requests after consultation with the Lieutenant or Administrative Sergeant.

This does not preclude a Watch Commander from seeking or requesting resources for emergent or emergency situations. In these instances, the Watch Commander will make the appropriate notifications when feasible to do so.

The Dispatch Center may make the necessary notifications, in lieu of the Watch Commander, when requested to do so.



In the event of a traffic fatality or major injury, the Watch Commander may seek assistance from allied agencies such as the California Highway Patrol or City of Santa Cruz Police Department. When it is feasible to do so, notification to the Chief of Police or Lieutenant shall be made.

As per SWITERS, all traffic accidents involving a K-12 school bus or other school vehicle with passengers shall be reported to the California Highway Patrol for investigation.



After consultation with the Chief of Police or Lieutenant, a Univesity Public Information Officer may be called t if it appears the media may have a significant interest in the incident.



After consultation with the Chief of Police or Lieutenant, notification to a University administration or other campus official may be made when the official has the right to be informed, and there  is a significant necessity for the official to have the information so that they made be able to accomplish their job function.A mere need, want, or interest in the information does not satisfy the requirement.There are several policies that provide guidance for notification, including but not limited to the following:

 (a) Responding to a Death policy

 (b) OES/Fire Marshal Notification Policy

 (c) Universitywide Reporting of a Laboratory Related Injury or Illness

Furthermore, consideration shall be given to the need to protect an individuals legal rights, and the information provided will be within the parameters of law.



UCOP executive management will be notified when one or more of the following exist:

 (a) Resources are overwhelmed or the potential exists to exhaust available campus resources;

 (b) Systemwide resources or assistance is required from either UCOP or other campus. (This does not pertain to a preplanned event where aid has already been requested);

 (c) Situation poses an immediate or long-term reputational risk to the campus or University system;

 (d) Situation requires interaction and/or coordination with the Regents or state/local elected or government officials

The Chief of Police or designee will determine when the notifications will be made. Notifications will not be made until after the immediate emergency has been contained, and it is practicable to make the notification.



The Dispatch Center will maintain notification policies and protocols.

The Dispatch and Records Manager will ensure that dispatch center notification protocols are updated at least annually.


359.8     TRAINING

The Lieutenant will assure that sworn and dispatch members receive annual training on this policy.




Policy 359 PDF