Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The UNT Police Department is a dually accredited department, and our staff is about 50% UNT alumni. As such we want to be as transparent as possible, which is why we are providing some general answers to frequently asked questions. Please note, these are general answers and there may be specific instances where we are unable to elaborate to protect crime victims, survivors, and the integrity of our criminal cases.
Prospective Students and Parents
How can I or my child feel safe on this campus?
Overall, here at UNT, the violent crime rate is actually fairly low, especially given the size of the community and the institution. It’s highly likely that if you’re victimized by someone, it will be a theft of some kind. Engrave your driver’s license number on items like laptops, TVs or bicycles or at the very least, take photos of all your serial numbers and upload them to the cloud. Keep your cars clean and locked and also work out with your roommates and suitemates that all residence hall doors should stay locked at all times! Other than that, keep a charged cell phone on you at all times, keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings, and immediately report any suspicious persons or activity to the UNT Police.
What things can I carry or can my child bring to campus for their protection?
This can get complicated quickly. There are things you can do or carry in public or at UNT that are legal but may be otherwise prohibited by other policies. For example, you can carry a pocketknife at UNT but they are prohibited in the residence halls. Concealed handguns in certain residence halls are allowed, but the Texas LTC (License to Carry) has a minimum age requirement of 21 eliminating that choice for many. In general, we often recommend a good quality pepper spray. You can contact one of us for guidance and more discussion. Reach out to our community relations person found on this web site. Don’t forget that general awareness and good personal safety habits are also important tools.
What is the crime rate on campus?
The Jeanne Clery Act requires institutions of higher education to annually compile and report on “Clery” crimes occurring within our “Clery geography.” Generally, these are your more violent offenses plus things such as alcohol and drug arrests or disciplinary referrals and dating/family violence. To see the statistics for the most recent three calendar years, go to https://clery.unt.edu and peruse the Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (ASFSR). In general, based on the last information available to us, our crime rate is lower than that of similarly sized institutions.
Is there anything safety-wise in place to protect students on campus in an emergency situation?
Absolutely. All students are automatically enrolled in “Eagle Alert,” our emergency message notifications. The Clery Act requires us to notify the campus community of certain ongoing threats or emergency situations. Some may arrive by email but emergent and still ongoing or developing situations may be delivered by text messaging, phone calls, and classroom computer screen take-overs. In addition to simply being notified, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the RUN-HIDE-FIGHT philosophy as demonstrated here: https://police.unt.edu/active_shooter
Do you provide any type of training programs related to safety for students on campus?.
Yes we do and they’re all free! A sample list of some of our offerings can be found here: https://police.unt.edu/safety. However, custom courses can be set up for you or your student groups if you contact us well in advance of your expected timeframe. Call the community relations officer listed in the link above to discuss your options. The best way to see what is already being offered throughout the semester is to follow our social media accounts…we’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’ll post class offerings there as well as they occur.
Handguns on campus
Can I or my child carry a handgun on campus?
It depends. There is lots of good information and more FAQs here: https://www.unt.edu/campus-carry
For most students who want to carry a concealed handgun, they must have a Texas LTC, which means they must be 21 years old minimum. That excludes many undergraduates or students who live in residence halls. LTC holders are still prohibited from carrying in certain areas that are marked with the requisite signage. If after you’ve reviewed the materials linked above you have a more specific situation or would like to talk further, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media and Video Release
A post on social media involving UNT Police seems to have raised questions. What is being done or why don’t you fully explain yourselves?
While we use social media liberally to promote proactive safety measures, we also know that, at times, posts may be misinterpreted or not fully show an accurate picture of our work. Social media posts by individuals not associated with our department may show only one part of a larger police interaction.
Our focus must remain on the case itself and protecting those who report crimes: survivors, victims, and witnesses. This is especially true with developing incidents/cases in which more information must be sought by investigators.
Public assumptions or misinterpretations – even with a popular or viral post – may call for a response. We will be as open as we can as long as an initial or continued response does not negatively impact those we serve or the integrity of a case.
We routinely inspect our own work and evaluate the performance of our officers and we make these promises to our community:
- We will own our mistakes. We are human and we know that we are not perfect. It is important for us to commit ourselves to responsibility and service to our UNT community.
- We teach every member of our department to understand the customer service mindset inherent to our mission statement and values.
- We do not investigate ourselves if there is a racial bias allegation made. Those are reviewed by UNT’s Office of Equal Opportunity in the Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access.
- We will continue ongoing training in people skills – such as de-escalation, bias awareness, and bystander intervention – for all officers.
Can I view body/vehicle camera footage of an incident?.
In times of heightened and universal public attention, we may release body or vehicle camera footage alongside our own statements. Other cases, especially those of a sensitive nature or containing important evidentiary value in an ongoing investigation may not be released. There are some instances in which the law requires us to release footage, such as officer-involved shootings (very rare).
Most body or vehicle camera footage, at least until the investigation is completed and filed with the District Attorney’s Office, are evidentiary and not for public disclosure.
Please note that in addition to body cameras, our officers have cameras inside and outside their vehicles. This footage is regularly reviewed by supervisors so that we might provide training and guidance to officers in order to ensure our best service to the community.
I’m very upset about a social media post/video or incident involving UNT Police. Who can I talk to about this?
We welcome every opportunity to sit down with our community members to discuss incidents of concern, share as much as we are able, and receive feedback. Please note that if there is a high-profile incident that results in an overwhelming number of inquiries, we can’t always contact or reply to everyone.
You can email us at email@example.com.. We would appreciate knowing more about you, your organization (if applicable), and how you prefer to meet (in person or virtually). This information is only for meeting purposes so that we may best serve you.
Officer response and reporting crimes
What sort of training do you provide your officers and how often?
Officers receive all training hours mandated by the State of Texas that are tied to their peace officer credentialing, in addition to many other topics we think are valuable. While the state requires 40 hours of peace officer in-service training every two years, many of our officers get double that… sometimes in a single year! Additionally, our CALEA accreditation standards require other training on a recurring basis, such as bias awareness and use of force. Lastly, we try to pack in as much community-based training as possible. For example, in recent years we’ve trained on responding to needs of persons with Autism, interacting with deaf or hard of hearing individuals, interactions with and understanding our LGBTQ community, and many others.
What happens with my complaint once officers respond and/or how is it investigated?
After your initial report to one of our officers (or an online submission from our web site), it is reviewed by a supervisor and ultimately forwarded to our criminal investigations group. There it is reviewed again for any follow up needed, investigative work needed, or it is classified and closed. Sometimes an officer may only give advice or not take a report. For these types of interactions, the contact is still logged in our records management system and some notes entered. In either case an incident or case number is generated although officers may only provide the case number if a full report is to be completed.
If a case needs an investigative follow-up it is usually assigned to a detective within 1-3 business days and they should contact you to advise you on the status of the case or to get more information.
I am a crime victim at UNT but unsure if I want to report the crime or work with police. What are my other options?
If you’re unsure, we would still encourage you to talk to an officer (or detective if you already have created a case) and we can guide you through the process of deciding. We have several Federal and State reporting requirements that dictate once we become aware of a crime, we must take a report, even if the crime is not investigated later.
The Dean of Students and the Title IX office often help students with situations in ways that operate outside of the criminal justice system. They may provide a good option if you decide to not pursue a criminal case.
We can still help you decide and explain what a criminal case/investigation looks like and all the “ins and outs.” Whatever you decide, time is usually of the essence, so call us sooner rather than later and let’s talk it over.
Are you part of Denton Police Department? What are the similarities or differences?
Even though we work together often, the UNT and Denton Police Departments are actually separate entities. The UNT Police Dept. employs fully licensed police officers who pass and maintain the same state certification as all peace officers in Texas must do. We are responsible for all things UNT-related and investigate crimes occurring on our property. Off-campus or off-property crimes are usually referred to Denton PD, although you may see us operating or assisting in other areas of Denton. We coexist and seamlessly work together on many overlapping incidents in any given week and our Denton PD partners are crucial to our success.
Given that we do not have an entire city the size of Denton to patrol and be responsible for, our caseload and activity levels can be less comparatively, but that also allows us to spend time on community needs that might otherwise go unaddressed or simply wouldn’t have time for.
- Social Media and Video Release
- Handguns on campus