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



Personal Communication Devices


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the use of mobile telephones and communication devices, whether issued by the Department or personally owned, while on-duty or when used for authorized work-related purposes.

This policy generically refers to all such devices as Personal Communication Devices (PCD) but is intended to include all mobile telephones, personal digital assistants (PDA) and similar wireless two-way communications and/or portable Internet access devices. PCD use includes, but is not limited to, placing and receiving calls, text messaging, blogging and microblogging, e-mailing, using video or camera features, playing games and accessing sites or services on the Internet.


702.2     POLICY

The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department allows employees to utilize department- issued PCDs and to possess personally owned PCDs in the workplace, subject to certain limitations. Any PCD used while on-duty, or used off-duty in any manner reasonably related to the business of the Department, will be subject to monitoring and inspection consistent with the standards set forth in this policy.

The inappropriate use of a PCD while on-duty may impair officer safety. Additionally, employees are advised and cautioned that the use of a personally owned PCD either on-duty or after duty hours for business-related purposes may subject the employee and the employee's PCD records to civil or criminal discovery or disclosure under applicable public records laws.

Employees who have questions regarding the application of this policy or the guidelines contained herein are encouraged to seek clarification from supervisory personnel.



Employees shall have no expectation of privacy with regard to any communication made with or stored in or through PCDs issued by the Department and shall have no expectation of privacy  in their location should the device be equipped with location detection capabilities. The use      of any department-provided or -funded PCD, computer, Internet service, telephone service or other wireless service while on-duty is without any expectation of privacy that the employee might otherwise have in any communication, including the content of any such communication. Communications or data reception on personal, password-protected, web-based e-mail accounts and any other services are subject to monitoring if department equipment is used.

In accordance with this policy, supervisors are authorized to conduct a limited administrative search of electronic files without prior notice, consent or a search warrant, on department- issued or personally owned PCDs that have been used to conduct department-related business. Administrative searches can take place for work-related purposes that may be unrelated to investigations of employee misconduct and, as practicable, will be done in the presence of the affected employee. Prior to conducting any search of personally owned devices, supervisors shall consult with the Chief of Police. All such searches shall be fully documented in a written report.



Depending on an employee's assignment and the needs of the position, the Department may, at its discretion, issue a PCD. Department-issued PCDs are provided as a convenience to facilitate on-duty performance only. Such devices and the associated telephone number shall remain the sole property of the Department and shall be subject to inspection or monitoring (including all related records and content) at any time without notice and without cause.

Unless an employee is expressly authorized by the Chief of Police or the authorized designee for off-duty use of the PCD, the PCD will either be secured in the workplace at the completion of the tour of duty or will be turned off when leaving the workplace.



Employees may carry a personally owned PCD while on-duty, subject to the following conditions and limitations:

 (a) Carrying a personally owned PCD is a privilege, not a right.

 (b) The Department accepts no responsibility for loss of or damage to a personally owned PCD.

 (c) Employees shall promptly notify the Department in the event the PCD is lost or

 (d) The PCD and any associated services shall be purchased, used and maintained solely at the employee's expense.

 (e) The device should not be used for work-related purposes except in exigent circumstances (e.g., unavailability of radio communications). Employees will have a reduced expectation of privacy when using a personally owned PCD in the workplace and have no expectation of privacy with regard to any department business-related communication.

 (f) The device shall not be utilized to record or disclose any business-related information, including photographs, video or the recording or transmittal of any information or material obtained or made accessible as a result of employment with the Department, without the express authorization of the Chief of Police or the authorized designee.

 (g) Use of a personally owned PCD constitutes consent for the Department to access the PCD to inspect and copy data to meet the needs of the Department, which may include litigation, public records retention and release obligations and internal If the PCD is carried on-duty, employees will provide the Department with all telephone access numbers for the device.

Except with prior express authorization from their supervisor, employees are not obligated or required to carry, access, monitor or respond to electronic communications using a personally owned PCD while off-duty. If an employee is in an authorized status that allows for appropriate compensation consistent with policy or existing collective bargaining agreements, or if the employee has prior express authorization from his/her supervisor, the employee may engage   in business-related communications. Should employees engage in such approved off-duty communications or work, employees entitled to compensation shall promptly document the time worked and communicate the information to their supervisor to ensure appropriate compensation. Employees who independently document off-duty department-related business activities in any manner shall promptly provide the Department with a copy of such records to ensure accurate record keeping.



The following protocols shall apply to all PCDs that are carried while on-duty or used to conduct department business:

 (a) A PCD shall not be carried in a manner that allows it to be visible while in uniform, unless it is in an approved carrier.

 (b) All PCDs in the workplace shall be set to silent or vibrate mode.

 (c) A PCD may not be used to conduct personal business while on-duty, except for brief personal communications (e.g., informing family of extended hours). Employees shall endeavor to limit their use of PCDs to authorized break times, unless an emergency exists.

 (d) Employees may use a PCD to communicate with other personnel in situations where the use of the radio is either impracticable or not feasible. PCDs should not be used as a substitute for, as a way to avoid or in lieu of regular radio communications.

 (e) Officers are prohibited from taking pictures, video or making audio recordings or making copies of any such picture or recording media unless it is directly related to official department business. Disclosure of any such information to any third party through any means, without the express authorization of the Chief of Police or the authorized designee, may result in discipline.

 (f) Employees will not access social networking sites for any purpose that is not official department business.

 (g) Using PCDs to harass, threaten, coerce or otherwise engage in inappropriate conduct with any third party is prohibited. Any employee having knowledge of such conduct shall promptly notify a supervisor.



Supervisors should ensure that members under their command are provided appropriate training on the use of PCDs consistent with this policy. Supervisors should monitor, to the extent practicable, PCD use in the workplace and take prompt corrective action if an employee is observed or reported to be improperly using a PCD. An investigation into improper conduct should be promptly initiated when circumstances warrant.

If, when carrying out any provision of this policy, the need to contact an employee who is off-duty arises, supervisors should consider delaying the contact, if practicable, until the employee is on- duty, as such contact may be compensable.



The use of a PCD while driving can adversely affect safety, cause unnecessary distractions and present a negative image to the public. Officers operating emergency vehicles should restrict the use of these devices to matters of an urgent nature and should, where practicable, stop the vehicle at an appropriate location to use the PCD.

Except in an emergency, employees who are operating non-emergency vehicles shall not use a PCD while driving unless the device is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free use (Vehicle Code § 23123). Hands-free use should be restricted to business-related calls or calls of an urgent nature.


702.9     OFFICIAL USE

Employees are reminded that PCDs are not secure devices and conversations may be intercepted or overheard. Caution should be exercised while utilizing PCDs to ensure that sensitive information is not inadvertently transmitted. As soon as reasonably possible, employees shall conduct sensitive or private communications on a land-based or other department communications network.

The following situations are examples of when the use of a PCD may be appropriate:

 (a) Barricaded suspects

 (b) Hostage situations

 (c) Mobile Command Post

 (d) Catastrophic disasters, such as plane crashes, earthquakes, floods, etc.

 (e) Major political or community events

 (f) Investigative stakeouts

 (g) Emergency contact with an allied agency or allied agency field unit

 (h) When immediate communication is needed and the use of the radio is not available or appropriate and other means are not readily available




Policy 702 PDF