1-1 Code of Conduct

Policy Type: Local

Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 1/30/2014

Current Revision Approved: 9/1/2021



The purpose of this directive is to establish standards of conduct for all members of the VCU Police Department (VCUPD). It is department policy to ensure that the performance of its members is characterized by lawful police actions that are carried out in an exemplary fashion. To this end, VCUPD expects all personnel to maintain the highest standards of appearance and conduct at all times, both on duty and off duty. Due to the very nature of police work, it is understood that no set policies, procedures and regulations can be adopted to cover all circumstances. In emergencies or situations not addressed within this directive, all department members are expected to exercise sound judgment, within the confines of the law.

Violations of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Employee Handbook, Commonwealth of Virginia’s policies, university policies, VCUPD policies, and/or the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia or the United States of America shall result in disciplinary or personnel action as defined in this policy. Any imposed disciplinary action will be contingent on the severity of the offense, the offender’s record, and the seriousness of the consequences resulting from the violation.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.



  1. COMPLIANCE WITH RULES – All department members are required to comply with any rule that corresponds with their level of authority and responsibility within the department.
  2. KNOWLEDGE OF POLICIES AND DIRECTIVES – Employees are issued all written directives, as applicable to their role within the department. All department members are responsible for becoming familiar with all applicable department policies contained therein. Failure on the part of employees to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the written directives will be considered negligent and subject the member to disciplinary action. In the event of improper action or breach of discipline, it will be assumed that the employee was familiar with the law, rules, and/or policy in question.
  3. HARASSMENT - A course of action or conduct composed of a series of aggravated acts, over a period of time, however short, which indicates a continuity of purpose directed at a specific person or group of persons which serves no legitimate purpose.
  4. DEPARTMENT MEMBERS - Both sworn and non-sworn personnel, whether full-time or part-time employees.
  5. MORAL TURPITUDE – An intentional act or behavior displayed in words or actions which violates public morals or the common sense of the community, involving but not limited to, intent to defraud, intentional dishonesty for personal gain, lying, perjury, subornation of perjury, cheating, bribery, unlawful possession of controlled substances, sexual harassment, unlawful sexual conduct, or excessive use of force.
  6. OFFICERS – All sworn personnel, whether probationary or permanent.
  7. RULES OF CONDUCT - The governing rules of conduct for the ethical, legal, and moral conduct of all department members.



It shall be the responsibility of each department member to comply with the Code of Conduct as defined within this directive. The positive public image, which VCU strives to develop within its community, is fashioned upon adherence to high standards of personal conduct. Department members wield considerable power over the public in order to provide services. The department’s enforcement responsibilities and activities result in our members being an extremely visible form of government representing the university. Police powers are carefully balanced and circumscribed by federal, state and local laws, and ultimately, by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Police powers to arrest, seize property, and lawfully interfere with the lives of citizens must be accomplished with public trust. We regard this trust as vital to our success and we must protect this confidence through exemplary performance at all times.


Violation of Rules

All employees shall maintain access to VCUPD’s written directives via their PowerDMS account. It is the responsibility of every department member to become familiar with all of the department policies contained therein. Failure on the part of any member to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the directives as hereby directed will be considered negligence of duty and subject said member to disciplinary action. In the event of improper action or breach of discipline, it will be assumed that the employee was familiar with the law, rules, or policy in question. 

Department members shall not commit any acts or omit any acts that constitute a violation of any of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Employee Handbook, Commonwealth of Virginia’s Standards of Conduct, VCUPD’s Written Directives, VCU policies and procedures, and/or the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia or the United States of America, whether stated within this policy or elsewhere. A violation of any such rule, regulation, directive or order is considered a disciplinary offense, which subjects the violator to disciplinary action.



Corrective actions, whether formal or informal, must depend upon the nature, consequence(s) or potential consequence(s) of the employee’s conduct or performance, and the surrounding circumstances and mitigating factors, if any. Supervisors shall apply corrective actions consistently, while taking into consideration the specific circumstances of each case.

Employees are bound by the guidelines outlined in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy 1.60 Standards of Conduct and/or Working @ VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies. The Commonwealth’s disciplinary system typically involves the use of increasingly significant measures to provide feedback to employees, so that they may correct their conduct or performance problems. Furthermore, it is designed to encourage employees to become fully contributing members of the organization, and to enable agencies to fairly, with reliable documentation, terminate employees who are unable or unwilling to improve their conduct and/or job performance. Supervisors shall abide by the corrective and disciplinary actions set forth in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy 1.60 Standards of Conduct and/or Working @ VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies when applying penalties resulting from employee misconduct.


Rules of Conduct

01.    AUTHORITY OF ORDERS / INSUBORDINATION – Officers and members shall promptly obey all lawful orders issued to them by supervisors of a higher rank. This includes orders relayed from a supervisor by an officer of the same or lesser rank. Unjustified bypassing of rank in the chain-of-command or the non-exigent circumvention of the chain-of-command may constitute insubordination.

02 .   ISSUING LAWFUL ORDERS – Any order in keeping with the performance of any duty prescribed by law and by these rules and regulations, or for the preservation of good order, efficient and proper discipline, and which does not conflict with standing laws and ordinances shall be construed as lawful. Department supervisors shall not knowingly or willfully issue any order in violation of a law, rule or order of the United States, Commonwealth of Virginia or the VCU Police Department.


  1. Employees who are given an otherwise proper order that is in conflict with a previous order, rule, regulation or directive, shall respectfully inform the supervisor issuing the order of the conflict. If the supervisor issuing the order does not alter or retract the conflicting order, the order shall stand. Under these circumstances, the responsibility for the conflict shall rest upon the supervisor. Employees shall obey the conflicting order and shall not be held responsible for disobedience of the order, rule, regulation or directive previously issued.
  2. Employees shall not obey any order which they know, or should know, would require them to commit any illegal act. If in doubt as to the legality of an order, the employee shall request the issuing supervisor to clarify the order or confer with higher authority. (An employee may not be disciplined for questioning the legality of an order.)


  1. Department members shall maintain a level of moral conduct in their personal and business affairs which is consistent with the highest standards of the law-enforcement profession. Department members shall not participate in any incident involving moral turpitude that impairs their ability to perform as law-enforcement employees or cause the department to be brought into disrepute. Members shall conduct themselves at all times, both on and off duty, in such a manner as to reflect favorably on the department and the university. 
  2. Conduct unbecoming shall include that which brings the department/university into disrepute or reflects discredit upon the employee as a member of the department/university, or that which impairs the operation or efficiency of the department/university or employee.

NOTE:  Impairment of ability to perform as a law-enforcement employee refers to the individual’s loss of respect among the community or other employees to the point that the notorious nature of the individual’s personal character overshadows the authority of their office, such that they can no longer effectively exercise that authority. Causing the department/university to be brought into disrepute refers to the same situation, with the exception or addition that the individual’s conduct reflects adversely on the department/university as a whole, where, for example, the individual’s conduct is generalized by the community to involve the entire department, and thus interferes with every employee’s effectiveness. It is important to note that when an employee is charged with conduct which interferes with the effectiveness or the reputation of the employee or the department/university, it is necessary to prove, as one of the elements of the offense that damage has, in fact, been done to the effectiveness or reputation of the department/university or the employee.

NOTE: Before charging an employee with “unbecoming conduct,” the supervisor shall examine all other rules to ascertain whether a specific rule violation is applicable. If a particular rule applies, it should be used instead.


  1. Employees shall obey all laws of the United States and of any state and local jurisdiction in which the employees are present. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude will constitute a basis for disciplinary action and may subject the employee to job forfeiture. Further, any other conviction of the violation of a law shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
  2. Any department member who is charged with a traffic infraction (excluding parking violations), or learns that they may be the defendant in any criminal action, shall report such action in writing to the Chief of Police, through appropriate channels, without delay. (This section is also a general provision. Subsection A is intended to more clearly establish that any violation of the law is a departmental disciplinary offense, as well as an illegal act subjecting the violator to criminal penalties. Under this section, it is not necessary to establish that the illegal act in any way affects department operations or that the employee may be convicted of the crime. However, the rule must be applied with caution, especially where the criminal act is a minor offense.)
  3. In accordance with university policy, all department employees will be subject to additional criminal history and driver history checks during the year as long as they are employed by VCUPD.

06.    REPORTING FOR DUTY – Department members shall report for duty at the time and place required by assignment or orders and shall be physically and mentally fit to perform their duties. They shall be properly dressed and equipped in accordance with department guidelines. As appropriate, while on duty, department members shall have in their possession: police identification, a valid driver’s license while operating a motor vehicle, an approved service weapon (sworn officers), and be cognizant of information required for the proper performance of duty so that they may immediately assume their duties. 

07.    TARDINESS – As many police operations function on a shift basis around the clock, it is important that department members arrive to work promptly, prepared to assume their duties as soon as their assigned shift begins.

08.    LEAVE

  1. All members absent from duty will be placed in an official leave status as prescribed by university policy. Department members shall be present for duty, unless a supervisor has approved the leave. All members are entitled to days off for which a schedule will be arranged by their supervisors. Leave usage will be apportioned by the supervisor to allow for an even distribution of personnel throughout the year. The Chief of Police must approve any sworn leave requests in excess of ten (10) consecutive workdays. In emergency situations, department members must notify their supervisors, as soon as practicable, and request leave.
  2. Being absent from duty without leave by an officer or other department member will be grounds for forfeiture of pay for the time absent, and may be the subject of disciplinary actions set forth in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy 1.60 Standards of Conduct and/or Working @ VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies.
  3. An unexplained absence, without prior authorization by an officer or other department member, for four or more days will be deemed as a resignation.
  4. Leave is further guided by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy 1.60 Standards of Conduct and/or Working @ VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies.

09.    FICTITIOUS ILLNESS OR INJURY REPORTS – Unless incapacitated, all department members must notify their immediate supervisor, as soon as practicable, of any injury or illness occurring while on duty. Department members shall not feign illness or injury, falsely report themselves ill or injured, or otherwise deceive or attempt to deceive any official of the department as to the condition of their health. 

10.    UNFIT FOR DUTY – Any supervisor may temporarily relieve from duty an employee under their supervision for a period of not more than one workday on the grounds that the employee is unfit for duty. “Unfit for duty” may include any physical or mental condition which might, in the judgment of the supervisor, render the employee incapable of adequately performing their duties or performing them in such a way as to embarrass or discredit the department/university or jeopardize the safety of any person or property.

11.    NEGLECT OF DUTY – While on duty, department members shall not engage in any activities or personal business which would cause them to neglect or be inattentive to duty. 

12.   LEAVING DUTY POST – Department members shall not leave their assigned duty posts during a tour of duty, except when authorized by proper authority. Officers shall keep Dispatch advised of any change in their location.

13.    SLEEPING ON DUTY – Department members shall remain awake while on duty. If unable to do so, an employee shall so report to their supervisor, who will determine the proper course of action.

14.    SEXUAL ACTIVITY ON DUTY – Engaging in sexual activity while on duty is prohibited. 

15.    UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE – Department members shall maintain sufficient competency to properly perform their duties and assume the responsibilities of their positions. Members shall perform their duties in a manner that will maintain the highest standards of efficiency in carrying out the department’s functions and objectives. Unsatisfactory performance may be demonstrated by a lack of knowledge of the application of laws required to be enforced; an unwillingness or inability to perform assigned tasks; the failure to conform to work standards established for the employee’s rank, grade or position; the failure to take appropriate action on the occasion of a crime, disorder, or other condition deserving police attention; or absence without leave. 

16.    COWARDICE – Police employees shall not display any behavior that indicates cowardice in the line of duty. Unless incapacitated, members of the department will aid, assist and protect fellow department members, other law enforcement members and members of the community in time of danger or under conditions in which danger is imminent.

17.    POSSESSION AND USE OF DRUGS – Employees shall not possess or use any federally controlled substances, narcotics, or hallucinogens, except when prescribed in the treatment of the department member by a physician or dentist. Any officer that is consuming prescription or non-prescription medication that may have an impact on their duties MUST advise their supervisor prior to reporting for duty.

18.    ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND DRUGS – Employees shall not store or bring into any police facility or vehicle any alcoholic beverages, federally controlled substances, narcotics or hallucinogens, except those which are held as evidence or are used for training. 

19.    USE OF ALCOHOL WHILE ON DUTY OR IN UNIFORM - Department members shall not consume intoxicating beverages while on duty or while in uniform. Members shall not appear for duty, or be on duty, while under the influence of intoxicants to any degree whatsoever, or with an odor of intoxicants on their breath.

20.    USE OF ALCOHOL OFF-DUTY – Department members who are on call-back status shall not drink alcoholic beverages or consume any other intoxicants. (Department members, while off duty, shall refrain from consuming intoxicating beverages to the extent that it results in the impairment, intoxication, or behavior which discredits them or the department/university, or renders the employee unfit to perform their next regular tour-of-duty.)

21.    USE OF TOBACCO – Department members must observe all existing university policies and regulations regarding smoking in the workplace. Furthermore, department members shall not use any tobacco products, while in direct contact with the public, while operating a state vehicle or while in a state building or a police facility. This rule applies to smokeless tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. 

22.    GIFTS AND GRATUITIES AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES – Department members shall not accept any money, loan, gift, favor, service, or business or professional opportunity that reasonably tends to influence the employee in the performance of their official duties or that could discredit the university or the police department.

23.    ABUSE OF POWER – Department members shall not use their official position, official identification cards or badges for personal or financial gain, for obtaining privileges not otherwise available to them except in the performance of duty, or for avoiding consequences of illegal acts. Department members shall not lend their identification cards or badges to another person or permit them to be photographed or reproduced without the approval of the Chief of Police.

24.    ENDORSEMENTS AND REFERRALS – Department members shall not recommend or endorse in an official capacity the employment or procurement of a particular product, professional service, or commercial service (such as an attorney, ambulance service, towing service, bondsman, mortician, etc.). In the case of an ambulance or towing service, when such service is necessary and the person needing the service is unable or unwilling to procure it or request assistance, employees shall proceed in accordance with established department procedures.

25.    ASSOCIATIONS – Employees shall avoid regular or continuous associations or dealings with persons, whom they know or should know, are under criminal investigation or indictment, or who have a reputation in the community or the department for involvement in felonious or criminal behavior, except as necessary in the performance of their official duties, or where unavoidable because of their personal relationship to the employee. No department member shall knowingly communicate to any person, by any means, information which may assist any person to escape arrest or punishment, prepare for raids, destroy or conceal evidence (money, property or information sought by the police).

26.    VISITING PROHIBITED ESTABLISHMENTS – Employees shall not knowingly visit or frequent an establishment wherein the laws of the United States or the Commonwealth of Virginia are regularly violated, except in the performance of duty or while acting under proper and specific orders from a supervisor.

27.    GAMBLING – Games of chance will not be permitted in VCUPD or campus buildings, nor will officers or members participate in these while on duty.


  1. Employees shall not criticize or ridicule the department, its policies, or other employees through speech, writing, rumor, or other expression, where such speech, writing, rumor, or other expression is defamatory, obscene, is unlawful, undermines the effectiveness of the department, interferes with the maintenance of discipline, or is made with reckless disregard for truth or falsity.
  2. Department members shall not address public gatherings, appear on radio or television, prepare any articles for publication, act as correspondents to a newspaper or a periodical, release or divulge investigative information, or any other matters of the department, while presenting them as representing the department in such matters, without proper authority.
  3. Employees shall be mindful of the guidelines set forth in Written Directive 2-9 Social Media when posting statements and/or other content on social media sites.

NOTE: This section recognizes the employee’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, as well as the need for the department to operate without unlawful or destructive criticism. A blending of these factors is present in the rule, which has been upheld in the courts. The second segment of the rule limits employees’ statements, when employees are holding themselves out as representatives of the department. These guidelines apply to statements and appearances made within online and/or social media settings as well. For further information, refer to Written Directive 2-9 Social Media.

29.    PERSONAL APPEARANCE – While on duty, every officer and department member must appear neat and clean. Sworn department members shall maintain their appearance in compliance with Written Directive 4-7 Uniforms, Equipment, Grooming and Personal Appearance – Sworn Personnel. Civilian department members shall maintain their appearance in compliance with Written Directive 4-2 Grooming and Personal Appearance – Civilian Personnel.

30.    ALTERING THE STYLE OF UNIFORM – Uniforms shall be made of the material and type prescribed, and such style shall not be altered or changed in any manner whatsoever, unless authorized by the Chief of Police. Department members shall maintain their uniform and equipment in compliance with Written Directive 4-7 Uniforms, Equipment, Grooming and Personal Appearance – Sworn Personnel.


  1. Every VCUPD employee shall have a police ID displaying photo and correct department identifying information, consisting of the employee’s name, title and employee number. Members shall display their identification when necessary in the course of department business.
  2. Officers shall furnish their name and badge number to any person requesting that information, when they are on duty or while representing themselves as a police employee, except when the withholding of such information is necessary for the performance of their duties or is authorized by proper authority.

NOTE: Part-time student employees are not issued a police ID; however, they shall display their VCU-issued student ID when requested.

32.    CITIZEN COMPLAINTS – It is the responsibility of each department member to facilitate the convenient, courteous, and prompt receipt and processing of citizen complaints. Employees shall not interfere, discourage, or delay the making of, or the investigation of citizen complaints. Although an employee may attempt to explain an incident or a department policy to a citizen, the employee shall adhere to the procedures for handling citizen complaints as described in Written Directive 4-8 Citizen Complaints & Administrative Investigations.

33.    COURTESY – Employees shall be tactful in the performance of their duties, shall control their tempers, and exercise the utmost patience and discretion, and shall not engage in argumentative discussions even in the face of extreme provocation. In the performance of their duties, employees shall not use coarse, violent, profane or insolent language or gestures, and shall not express any prejudice concerning race, religion, politics, national origin, lifestyle, gender, or any personal characteristics.

34.    REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE – When any person applies for assistance or advice, or makes a complaint or report, either by telephone or in person, all pertinent information will be obtained in an official and courteous manner and will be properly and judiciously acted upon in conformance with established department procedures.

35.    POLITICAL ACTIVITY – When engaging in a campaign of any political organization seeking the election of candidates or any individual political candidate for office, uniformed members may not be in uniform. No such political activities by a member of a group or organization shall be carried on in the name of the university or any department, bureau, division or agency thereof, or by any group of employees in the police department.


  1. Employees have the right to join labor organizations, but nothing shall compel the department to recognize or to engage in collective bargaining with any such labor organizations, except as provided by law.
  2. Employees shall not engage in any strike. A “strike” includes the concerted failure to report for duty, willful absence from one’s position, unauthorized holidays, sickness unsubstantiated by a physician’s statement, the stoppage of work, or the abstinence in whole or in part from the full, faithful and proper performance of the duties of employment for the purposes of inducing, influencing or coercing a change in conditions, compensation, rights, privileges or obligations of employment.

37.    RESIDENCE – Within three days of any changes, department members shall furnish the department with a permanent address and telephone number, where they may be reached in the event of an emergency. 

38.    CHANGE IN DOMESTIC STATUS – Within three days, department members shall report any change in domestic status in reference to marriage, legal separation, divorce, or death of a spouse, so that the department is kept current regarding next-of-kin.

39.    CONFIDENTIALITY – No member shall reveal police information outside the department, except as provided elsewhere within a department written directive or as required by law or competent authority. Information contained in police records, information ordinarily accessible only to members, names of informants, complainants, witnesses and other persons known to the police are considered confidential. Unauthorized copying or duplication of official records is prohibited. 

40.    INTERVENTION/INTERFERENCE – Officers shall not interfere with cases being handled by other officers of the department or by any other governmental agency, unless ordered to intervene by a supervisory officer or in cases in which the intervening officer believes beyond a reasonable doubt that a manifest injustice would result from failure to take immediate action. (Each police officer in the department draws their authority from the same source, generally state law. Within the confines of whatever administrative restrictions may be placed upon them, each officer’s power to make arrests is exactly the same as every other officer’s power.)

41.    COOPERATION – All employees are strictly charged with establishing and maintaining a high degree of cooperation, both within the department and with all agencies engaged in the administration of criminal justice and public service. Department members shall cooperate with and assist each other at every opportunity and shall not publicly criticize the work performance of any other member. While on duty, employees shall aid and/or reasonably assist persons within the university whenever such aid or assistance appears to be called for and does not conflict with the general principles of law enforcement or in violation of legal statutes or department rules and regulations. 

42.    TRUTHFULNESS AND INTEGRITY – Department employees must scrupulously avoid any conduct which might compromise their personal integrity, that of fellow employees or the department, and shall not condone such activities of another. Department employees are to speak or write the truth at all times, whether under oath or not, in giving testimony, or in connection with any official order or duties. Written documentation submitted by all department employees shall be truthful and complete, and no employee shall knowingly enter or cause to be entered, any inaccurate, false or improper information. Employees shall submit all necessary departmental reports on time and in accordance with established procedures.

EXCEPTION: Undercover investigations or events toward lawful objectives during an investigation.

43.    RESPECT – Department members shall treat superiors, subordinates and associates with respect. They shall be courteous and civil at all times in their relationships with one another. When on duty and in the presence of the public, officers shall be referred to by rank. Supervisors are forbidden to injure or discredit those under their authority by tyrannical or capricious conduct or by abusive language.

44.    USE OF FORCE – Officers shall not use more force in any situation than is reasonably necessary under the circumstances. Officers shall use force in accordance with law and department procedures delineated in Written Directive 1-7 Use of Force.

45.    TREATMENT OF PERSONS IN CUSTODY – The arresting officer is responsible for the custody and safety of their prisoner until competent authority relinquishes custody, and the arresting officer no longer has constructive control over the prisoner. This responsibility extends or transfers to any officer involved in transporting a prisoner, and includes the prevention of acts by any other officer or person, which violates the law or department directives.

46.    CONSTANT POLICE RESPONSIBILITY – Off-duty police officers are subject to duty at all times and encouraged to carry their approved firearms while in their jurisdiction. Officers are reminded that they have a constant police responsibility, but should temper that knowledge with discretion. (This rule establishes that officers are subject to duty at all times. While not making it an absolute requirement, the rule encourages the wearing of an approved firearm while off duty and in their jurisdiction. The department does not expect its officers to be armed when they have been drinking or are engaged in recreational activities. The reminder that they have a constant responsibility does not necessarily mean that they are mandated to take direct action if wisdom and judgment should dictate otherwise. In some instances, requesting police assistance from Dispatch can fulfill “constant police responsibility.”)

47.    CARRYING FIREARMS - Officers shall carry firearms in accordance with applicable laws and established department policies and procedures. 

48.    USE OF WEAPONS – Officers shall not use or handle weapons in a careless or imprudent manner. Officers shall use weapons in accordance with applicable laws and department procedures as outlined in Written Directive 1-7 Use of Force.

49.    USE OF DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT – In accordance with established procedures, department members shall utilize department equipment only for its intended purpose, and shall not abuse, damage or handle department equipment in a careless manner. All equipment issued to employees shall be maintained in proper order and remain operationally ready to utilize at all times. Tampering with any department-issued electronic monitoring device, such as in-car cameras or any and all other recording devices, is strictly prohibited. 

50.    OPERATION OF VEHICLES – Employees shall operate official vehicles in a careful and prudent manner, and shall obey all laws and all orders pertaining to such operation. Revocation or suspension of a Virginia Operator’s license shall be reported to the Chief of Police immediately.

51.    ARREST IN PERSONAL SITUATIONS – Police officers shall not make arrests in their own situations, or in those of their families, except under grave circumstances that would justify them using self-defense measures.

52.    PRIVACY - No member shall duplicate, cause to be made, or allow to be made a copy of a key pertaining to the official business of VCUPD or the university without authorization from proper supervisory authority. No employee shall enter the office, filing cabinet(s) or computer file(s) of another, except for official business.

53.    CONFLICT OF INTEREST – Department members will not engage in any activity, which conflicts in any way with the objectives of the department, damages the department’s image, or compromises its law-enforcement authority.

54.    DUTY TO INFORM – Employees shall communicate to their supervisor any violation of the Rules and Regulations, the infraction of which would bring discredit to the department. Employees will promptly communicate to a supervisor, before the end of tour-of-duty, any information regarding tips on crimes or criminal activity, or any other relevant law-enforcement information, which may come into their possession. 

55.    FULL DISCLOSURE – All police employees shall cooperate with any official internal investigation. Therefore, it is the duty of all employees to answer questions of an official nature completely and candidly. Failure to disclose information pertinent to any internal investigation, when requested by a supervisor, either verbally or in writing, shall be considered a violation of department policy.

56.    INEFFICIENCY – Department members that display a continuous pattern of disciplinary actions involving suspension or greater disciplinary actions are subject to termination. The nature and seriousness of each offense, including whether the offense was intentional or not, should be weighed during this type of investigation.

57.    REPORTING FOR COURT – Department members shall report to court at the time and place as directed by a supervisor or subpoena or upon issuance of a summons, and shall be physically and mentally fit to perform their duties. They shall be properly dressed and equipped in accordance with department guidelines. There are judicial penalties for ignoring a subpoena and this section provides for administrative action if an employee fails to respond to a subpoena.

58.    RESPECT FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS – The task of determining the constitutionality of a statute is not the responsibility of an individual officer. An officer may enforce any federal, state, or local statute, which is valid on its face without fear of abrogating the constitutional rights of the person violating that statute. An officer who lawfully acts within the scope of their authority does not deprive persons of their civil liberties. Sensitivity toward the individual liberties of all citizens contacted by VCUPD personnel is vigorously encouraged.

59.    SAFEGUARDS AGAINST FALSE ARREST – An officer will use every source of information to ensure the correct identification of a person arrested or confined. They will not depend upon similarity of names or upon information received from other police jurisdictions, if such information is incomplete. The officer must check every detail of the physical description and use extreme caution if any physical characteristic does not match the alleged characteristic of the subject. Persons may be detained, but not booked, until all available information is obtained from other jurisdictions or complainants. When the use of photographic lineups exists, officers will seek assistance from local agencies that house photos of persons arrested. The officer will strive to locate photos that are consistent with the physical characteristics of the suspect in question. The officer will not offer any assistance to a victim when a photographic lineup is presented. 

60.    DISCRIMINATION – It is department policy to provide the highest level of police service to all citizens without regard to race, color or religion, creed, ethnic origin, sex or age, physical or mental handicap. All officers, even though charged with vigorous and unrelenting enforcement of the law, must remain completely impartial toward all persons coming to the attention of the agency. No member shall engage in any activity, either directly or indirectly, which serves to harass, intimidate, belittle or otherwise abuse any person due to the aforementioned distinctions. Any employee who feels that they are a victim of a discriminatory act or harassment should report the incident directly to the Chief of Police, whereupon the Chief of Police or their designee will conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action, if the allegation is sustained. The employee shall be advised of their right to file a complaint with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Services.

61.    DUTY TO INTERVENE AND REPORT – All department employees have a duty to intervene to either stop, or attempt to stop, another member of the department when they witness an abuse of power, excessive force, sexual harassment, and any other behaviors that are in violation of other department or university policies or local, state or federal laws, when such intervention is feasible. Upon witnessing an abuse of power, excessive force, sexual harassment or any other behaviors that are in violation of other department or university policies or local, state or federal laws, the department employee has a duty to immediately report such conduct to supervision.


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

1/30/2014 - 1-1 Code of Conduct

7/1/2020 - 1-1 Code of Conduct