Public Safety

SECTION 807.00

The University Police Department has full authority to investigate any activity occurring on campus and take whatever action is required in emergency situations. Police officers are required to be certified as set forth by State of Georgia law and have all authority thereto associated. Additionally, police officers may seek assistance from local and state law enforcement officials through mutual aid agreements should the occasion arise.

a. Random Drug Screening.

Certified officers are subject to random drug screens as required by Board of Regents policy and State law. Refusal to submit to a drug test or testing positive for the use of illegal substances shall be considered grounds for dismissal.

b. Criminal Background Check. Certified police officers and other positions defined by the institution are subject to criminal background checks prior to or subsequent to an offer of employment.

  • General Security

  • Building Security

  • Fire Detection Service

  • Traffic Control

  • Key and Lock Security

  • Open Records Act

  • Safety and Accident Prevention

  • Possession of Firearms

  • Violence in the Workplace

  • Random Drug Testing

  • Drug Free Workplace

  • Voluntary Disclosure of Drug Use

  • Operation of University Vehicles

  • SECTION 807.01

    General Security.

    The Director of University Police has the responsibility of maintaining an effective police force with the main objectives thereof being the protection of life and property, enforcement of laws, University regulations and maintaining order on the campus.


    SECTION 807.02

    Building Security. 

    University police officers are on duty 24 hours a day and make a minimum of two inspections of all buildings during their tour of duty. Officers must ascertain that all doors and windows are secure, security lights are operative, and no unauthorized personnel are in the area. Breaches of security are thoroughly investigated by the University Police Department and a written report of the incident and action taken is filed with the Director of the University Police Department.

    a. Employee and Student Access After Hours.

    It is assumed that employees or students who are authorized to enter a secured area after hours will have a key or coded access number issued to them. No one is authorized, other than a public safety officer, to allow admittance to such areas for an individual who "lost the key," etc. Police officers will ask for identification and make an appropriate report of such action when they allow access to an individual.

    Failure to observe this regulation will lead to disciplinary action and probable dismissal.


    SECTION 807.03

    Fire Detection Service. 

    In addition to providing general security for all buildings, the University Police Department is also charged with the responsibility of fire detection as required by the State fire regulations. Police officers are charged with the responsibility of investigating any indication of fire throughout the campus.


    SECTION 807.04

    Traffic Control. 

    Every motor vehicle on the campus, whether regularly or intermittently driven, must be properly registered with the University Police Department. Published regulations regarding traffic control, parking, violations and accident reporting are available to each employee and full compliance thereto is expected.

    Failure to comply with the regulations is possible cause for revocation of the driving privilege, and repeated violations may be just cause for termination.

    1. Parking and Traffic Regulations.

    Employees are reminded that the parking and traffic regulations apply to all individuals, as do the penalties described therein. Copies of these regulations are available in the Department of Transportation and Parking.

    Outstanding fines and/or other fees must be paid and will be withheld from employees' checks, if necessary.

    2. Revocation of Parking Privileges. Employees who continuously violate parking and traffic regulations may have their parking permit revoked and not be allowed to operate their vehicle on campus.


    SECTION 807.05

    Key and Lock Security.

    The Director of Plant Operations shall have the sole responsibility for issuing keys and maintaining the associated records in accordance with the policies set forth below.

    a. Request Procedure.

    Regular employees whose position or responsibilities make it necessary to have keys to their work areas should discuss this matter with their immediate supervisor. The supervisor, satisfied that the request is bona fide, should complete a key request form identifying the employee, building and rooms to be accessed. This form should be forwarded to the Department of Plant Operations.

    b. Issuing Keys.

    If the departmental request for keys seems reasonable, issuance will be authorized. It should be understood that employees are required to sign for keys issued to them and will be held responsible for their loss.

    c. Lost Keys.

    Lost keys should be reported immediately to the Director of Plant Operations and the Director of the University Police. This will alert security and if it is determined that a new combination is needed, locks can be changed immediately.

    Charges for lost keys are as follow:

    1. Grand Master = $1,000.00

    2. Building Master = $500.00

    3. Sub-Master = $250.00

    4. Regular

    d. Returning Keys. The immediate supervisor, dean or department head is charged with the responsibility of collecting those keys issued to employees who are departing. Such keys may be retained by the supervisor for subsequent issue to replacement personnel; but all such transfers should be reported to the Director of Plant Operations so the records may be so adjusted. Terminating employees who fail to return their keys must clear this matter with the Office of Finance and Administration before the final pay check is authorized. Failure to return keys or other university items may result in a police report being filed and/or information sent to collection agency.


    SECTION 807.06

    Open Records Act.

    The Georgia Open Records Act as amended in 1988 and 1992 provides that anyone may request access to public records/documents that are prepared or maintained by a University department or office. Certain records are not subject to disclosure, e.g., medical.

    Requests for records/documents should be referred to the Custodian of Public Records in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.


    SECTION 807.07

    Safety and Accident Prevention. 

    The Environmental Health and Safety Department has the responsibility to develop programs, policies and training in an effort to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.

    Department heads have the responsibility within their operating areas to actively enforce procedures related to safety and accident prevention and seek assistance from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety in: detecting and eliminating potential hazards, checking for unsafe conditions, in investigating any on the job injury or accident and in presenting training and other programs which will promote the general welfare of our employees while on the job site.

    1. Accident Reporting/Investigation.

    All job related accidents should be reported and medical assistance provided in accord with procedures set forth in the worker's compensation section of this manual. Supervisors should investigate accidents thoroughly to determine what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who was involved, and identify/implement actions to minimize the chance for further occurrence.


    SECTION 807.08

    Possession of Firearms on State Property.

    Possession of firearms on State property is a violation of Georgia law, and employees are advised that such is prohibited. Violation of this law will be considered a severe breach of institutional policy and may lead to termination of employment.

    The Department of the University Police Department should be advised when it is determined that an employee, student, visitor, etc. brings a weapon on State property.


    SECTION 807.09

    Violence in the Workplace. 

    Violence of any form is prohibited in the work place and will lead to severe disciplinary action to include termination of employment.

    Examples of non-acceptable behavior may include physical or verbal threats by an employee, disruption of work routines as the result of bizarre behavior, disorderly conduct, physical occupation of a campus area ignoring requests to disperse, etc.

    Supervisors are encouraged to deal with such behavior in a positive manner, maintaining open channels of communication, and encouraging the employee to seek professional assistance in dealing with the problem, when such action seems appropriate.


    SECTION 807.10

    Drug Testing. 

    Valdosta State University, the University System of Georgia and the State of Georgia are committed to a drug free workplace. As set forth by O.C.G.A. 45-20-111, certain occupational categories may be subject to pre-employment drug screening as well as random testing following employment.

    Employment categories subject to such screening include Public Safety, Health and Childcare Providers and employees whose duties require the Commercial Drivers License. These employees are considered high risk in that inattentiveness while on duty, or errors in judgment, could result in harm to themselves or others.

    1. Pre-employment screening shall be conducted subsequent to an offer of employment and prior to the individual applicant reporting for duty. Applicants having negative results shall be considered eligible for employment.

    2. Random Screening – Employees in these employment categories shall be subject to random screening. The Department of Human Resources initiates the random screening and notifies the appropriate departmental employee to have selected employees report for testing. Applicants and/or employees who refuse to report for a drug test or who test positive for he use of illegal substances will not be eligible for employment, or will be terminated from employment in accordance with the University’s termination procedures.

    3. Voluntary Disclosure – Provisions set forth in Section 807.12, Voluntary Disclosure of Drug Use, shall not apply when an employee subject to random drug screening has been selected to report for random drug screening.

    Other employment categories may be added to those subject to pre-employment and random drug screening. Human Resources will review the position description(s) of newly created positions and request approval by the President for those determined to be safety sensitive.


    SECTION 807.11

    Drug Free Workplace. 

    The University, as a recipient of federal funds, supports the provisions of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. To insure the continued receipt of federal funds and to comply with this legislation, the University strictly prohibits the possession, manufacture, distribution, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol on the University campus by students and employees. This policy also extends to employees under federal contracts or grants, as well as students or employees conducting University-related business off campus. All employees of the University are advised of the University's policy upon employment and acknowledge acceptance of the institution's policy statement, as outlined in Section 804.17.

    Employees or students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action to include termination of employment, expulsion from the University, and referral for prosecution.

    As per the BOR policy effective 7/1/07 :

    Any current employee who charged with a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) shall report being charged with such crime to Human Resources and Employee Development/ Academic Affairs where applicable within 72 hours of the employee becoming aware of such charge.  Failure to report being charged with such a crime may result in appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of employment.  Human Resources and Employee Development in concert with the Office of Legal Affairs and representatives of Academic Affairs, if applicable shall review the nature of the crime and make a determination on what, if any, action should be taken regarding the employee’s employment status until resolution of the charge. For drug related offenses this action may include that the employee satisfactorily participate in an approved drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.

    Any current employee who is convicted of a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) shall report such conviction to Human Resources and Employee Development, within 24 hours of the conviction.  Failure to report such conviction may result in appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of employment.  The Human Resources and Employee Development in concert with the Office of Legal Affairs and representatives of Academic Affairs, if applicable shall review the nature of the crime and make a determination on what, if any, action should be taken regarding the employee’s employment status.  The Human Resources and Employee Development in concert with the Office of Legal Affairs and representatives of Academic Affairs, if applicable, shall review the crime utilizing the same standards as it applies in reviewing crimes committed by a candidate for employment but may consider other factors, including the length of employment of the employee and performance reviews. For drug related offenses this action may include that the employee satisfactorily participate in an approved drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.


    SECTION 807.12

    Voluntary Disclosure of Drug Use.

    If, prior to arrest for an offense involving a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug, an employee notifies his or her immediate supervisor that he or she illegally uses a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug, and is receiving or agrees to receive treatment under a drug abuse and education program approved by the President of the institution, such employee shall be retained by the institution for up to one year as long as the employee follows the treatment plan. Retention of such employee shall be conditioned upon satisfactory completion of the program. The employee's work activities may be restructured if in the opinion of the immediate supervisor it is deemed advisable. The rights herein granted shall be available to a System employee only once during a five year period, and shall not apply to any employee who is selected for random drug screening, has refused to be tested or who has tested positive for a controlled substance, marijuana, or a dangerous drug.

    This policy is intended to implement the Drug Free Public Work Force Act of 1990.


    SECTION 807.13

    Operation of University Vehicles. 

    University employees whose essential job duties require the operation of a University vehicle, even if on an occasional basis, must possess a valid operator’s license for the type vehicle used in performing such duties.

    Employees shall operate University vehicles in a safe manner, observing the traffic rules and regulations of the State of Georgia and of the University.

    • Seat belts are required of all occupants.

    • Personal use of a State owned vehicle is not allowed.

    • Vehicle accidents should be reported immediately to the appropriate supervisor and a police incident report should be completed.

    • Damage to a State vehicle or to State property as the result of vehicle operation should be reported to the appropriate supervisor immediately.

    • Vandalism to a vehicle or theft of property from a vehicle should be reported immediately and a police incident report prepared clearly detailing the occurrence.

    • Employees whose responsibilities include the transportation of students must successfully complete the AAA Defensive Driving Training provided by the institution.

    • Employees whose position requires the C.D.L. are subject to random drug screens and may also be subject to “for cause” screening in the event of an “at fault” vehicular accident while on duty.

    • Vehicles should be inspected, serviced and approved for use by the Plant Operations Automotive section on a scheduled basis.

    a. Vehicle Insurance 
    All State owned vehicles are insured for liability coverage by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services, Risk Management Division. Vehicles valued above $1,000 will generally carry comprehensive and combined additional coverage's. Insurance identification cards should be available in each vehicle and used to satisfy proof of coverage if requested by an appropriate authority. Additionally, accident reporting procedures are covered on the insurance identification card and should be closely followed if the vehicle is involved in an accident out of the local area. Risk Management should be notified of any vehicle accident involving a State owned vehicle.

    b. Personal Vehicles used for Official State Business 
    Employees using their personal vehicles for State business have the liability coverage of the State extended for such official use. Employees on travel status should complete the request to travel authorization and/or otherwise advise the appropriate supervisor when such travel is to occur. This coverage is limited to liability only and does not apply when the vehicle is used for personal reasons while on official travel status.

    c. Rental Vehicles 
    Employees on official travel status who elect to use rental vehicles rather than their personal vehicles are reminded that only liability coverage is provided by the State of Georgia laws for such use. Theft, damage to such vehicle, etc. become the liability of the employee or his/her insurer. Rental insurance is available for such use and is reimbursable as a legitimate travel expense, so employees are encouraged to purchase such protection.

    d. Violations 
    The University shall not assume any liability for violations resulting in citations/fines to the employee.

    e. Failure to Comply 
    University employees who fail to comply with the State of Georgia laws, University policies and procedures or who otherwise operate State owned vehicles in a careless/unsafe manner may be subject to disciplinary actions to include reprimand, suspension or termination.


    Effective 06/10