Police Department Manual (PDP)

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Effective: 3/1/2002


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PDP 201–06: Governing Electronic Safety and Security Systems

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To regulate the use of electronic safety and security systems on all ASU campuses

To increase the understanding of their use in crime prevention, detection, identification, arrest, and prosecution of persons engaged in violations of the law

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U.S. Constitution, Amendment 4
Arizona Constitution, Article II, § 8
ASU Police Department
ASU PD Manual, Policy 431–02

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All property under the control of the university where access control, intrusion alarms, panic alarms, silent alarms, robbery alarms, or video surveillance is proposed, requested, or used

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All components of ASU, including the ASU Police Department (ASU PD), are committed to the enhancement of public safety, the quality of life, and the maintenance of an environment conducive to quality education, individual privacy, diversity, and freedom of expression.

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Existing Systems

Alarm, access control, and video surveillance systems installed and in good working order prior to January 1, 2002, may continue to operate until the system malfunctions or is due for upgrade or replacement.

New System Installations, Modifications, and Upgrades

Departments planning to install, modify, or upgrade systems beginning January 1, 2002, shall first obtain a Safety and Security System Permit (SSSP) issued by the Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) of the ASU PD. The CPU shall issue or deny the SSSP, in writing, within 60 days of the permit application. The final approval will be made by the ASU PD chief of police or designee. If requested by the entity applying for the permit, the CPU will also complete a security survey and/or vulnerability assessment.

In part, the permit application must include a justification for installation of the system, and must also describe the make, model, and capabilities of each component. In most cases, a scale diagram is required.

Inoperative, Placebo, or Dummy Systems

The ASU PD strongly discourages the installation of inoperative, perfunctory, placebo, or “for looks-only” video surveillance systems. The existence of placebo cameras is difficult to keep secret, and public knowledge of placebo camera installations lessens the deterrent effect of all video surveillance systems.

Alarm systems (including panic, robbery, intrusion, and property control) should be in good working order or be removed within 60 days of notice by ASU PD.

System Termination

Access control systems that are not used properly by all persons authorized to have access to a given area should be removed by the department within 60 days of notice by ASU PD. In the event of repeated false alarms or failure to comply with the notice from ASU PD to correct malfunctioning equipment within 60 days, ASU PD reserves the right to disconnect from service at the ASU Police Communications Center any such malfunctioning or improperly used safety or security system.

Video and Alarm System Operating Responsibilities, Limitations, and Training

Entities installing or operating video surveillance systems, access control, property control, or alarm systems shall be responsible for requiring their operators to obtain training in their effective, legal, constitutional, and ethical use. The CPU shall provide this training within 60 days of a request to do so.

All video cameras should be operative and connected to a recording system that retains video images for a minimum of 30 days. Tapes being kept for this holding period shall be stored in a secure location, and may be reviewed by members of ASU PD.

Entities that use video surveillance systems are responsible for reviewing their own tapes. If illegal acts are detected on the video, the tape should be rewound to the specific area and brought to the ASU PD to allow an officer to view it and determine whether to initiate a crime report.

Operators shall respect the reasonable expectation of privacy in all uses of video surveillance, including forensic video surveillance employed by PD investigators. When ASU PD investigators use video surveillance, only an ASU PD certified police officer can view the tape.

All uses of video surveillance shall be in compliance with existing ASU policies, including those concerning nondiscrimination, nonharassment, and diversity.

Information and images obtained by video monitoring shall be used exclusively for law enforcement and security purposes. Information may be released for other purposes such as internal employee disciplinary action, CrimeAlert broadcasts to the public, and media releases only when authorized by the ASU PD chief of police, his or her designee, or the Office of General Counsel.

Except when employed as a forensic tool by the ASU PD, video surveillance shall be restricted to public areas and areas commonly used by university community groups. These include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  1. alleys, service drives, and streets
  2. athletic fields
  3. audience seating
  4. cash handling facilities
  5. dining facilities
  6. hallways
  7. laboratories
  8. library interiors
  9. loading docks
  10. malls, sidewalks, and other pedestrian walkways
  11. motor vehicle interiors
  12. parking lots
  13. retail establishments
  14. rooftops
  15. safes


  16. stadiums.

Except when specifically approved in writing by the ASU PD chief of police or his or her designee, video surveillance installations shall not be approved in any of the following places:

  1. individual dormitory rooms, without occupant’s permission
  2. public restroom toilet stalls
  3. public restrooms with urinals
  4. individual offices, without the occupant’s permission


  5. locker or dressing rooms, where showering or disrobing is routine.

All surveillance must comply with applicable state and federal law. Persons conducting illegal surveillance are subject to felony prosecution, as well as university sanction, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from ASU.

False Alarms

False alarms of any kind that are activated by human error or system malfunction and cause an unnecessary response by police, fire, Emergency Medical Service (EMS), or other emergency services must be prevented. Systems must be monitored to reduce the likelihood of false alarms. The department must repair malfunctioning systems within 60 days of notice by ASU PD.


Faculty, staff, or students whose work or studies are tied to an area for which the installation of video surveillance has been proposed or presently exists may petition to block or forego the installation or to remove existing video surveillance equipment upon the basis that an enhanced expectation of privacy may exist. Petitions may also be made for the addition of video surveillance, access control, or alarm systems. Petitions will be made first to the dean or director of the college or department. The dean or director, in consultation with the CPU, will determine the disposition for the petition.


Except in applications of forensic video surveillance being clandestinely conducted by the ASU PD, signs shall be displayed prominently in public areas covered by video surveillance.

Video surveillance warning signs shall be placed at or near each entrance to the places being monitored. Samples of notice language for signs are available through the ASU PD.

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  1. Installation, maintenance, or use of fire alarm systems and video surveillance systems, access control systems, and intrusion alarm systems that are placed in use for an active investigation by the ASU PD.
  2. Fire alarms, which are under the jurisdiction of ASU PD, Environmental Health & Safety, and state and local fire marshals.
  3. Forensic use of electronic alarm, access control, or video surveillance systems, as dictated by Policy 431–02 of the ASU PD Manual as amended, May 2001.

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Students, faculty, and staff
  1. Be aware of areas posted as being under video surveillance.
  1. Use access control and alarm systems properly. If an alarm is accidentally activated, call the ASU Police at 480/965–3456 immediately. When police officers arrive, keep hands in plain sight, show identification, and explain how the alarm was activated.
If desired:
  1. Petition colleges or departments employing video surveillance to remove cameras, limit their scope, or add systems to a given area.
Deans, department heads, and system operators
  1. Ensure that all employees complete training in their technical, legal, constitutional, and ethical responsibilities, and are given a copy of this policy. This policy will be covered and handed out during the required training.  Training should be requested through the CPU.
Upon notification by ASU Police Patrol:
  1. Notify facilities for alarms that appear faulty. Document the notification in CAD.
  1. Follow up on complaints of false alarms due to system malfunction or human error, providing remedial training or system improvement recommendations, as needed.
On request from department chairs, college deans, or other responsible persons:
  1. Provide training in access control, property control, intrusion alarm, panic alarm, and video surveillance systems within 60 days of receiving the request.

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