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Search Warrant Policy

Approved by Executive Council on September 16, 2003

Policy Number Policy Owner
9016.1 Management Services

1.0    Purpose

To provide detailed instructions for employees who are served on campus with search warrants.

2.0    Revision History

Date Version Change Ref Section
9/16/2003 1.0 New Document  
10/9/2015 1.1 Minor Revisions  4.0
1/11/2017 1.2 Minor Revisions  

3.0    Units and Persons Affected

Employees who are served with a search warrant.

4.0    Policy

Employees cannot allow any law enforcement agent to conduct a search on college property without a valid search warrant signed by a Judge.  Anyone identifying themselves as an agent with a warrant should be asked to show official identification and provide a copy of the warrant.  Immediately notify University Police at 564-2022 of the situation.  SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Counsel have the right to review the warrant and keep a copy of it.  If the affidavit in support of the warrant is not attached, the employee being served should ask for a copy.

Destruction of Evidence - No employee is to destroy SUNY Plattsburgh records until the date specified and in accordance with SUNY Plattsburgh's record retention and destruction policy.

5.0    Definitions

Search warrant - Document issued by a court that authorizes a police officer or somebody else named in the document to go into a building, place or open a container (e.g. vault, safety deposit box), to search and seize anything that might serve as evidence of a crime or could be used to commit a crime (e.g. computers, file cabinets, electronic records, paper documents, etc.).

6.0    Responsibilities

Employees receiving the warrant need to:

  • Check for proper identification 
  • Request a copy of the warrant 
  • Write down the name and agency of the lead agent  
  • Call University Police and should notify their direct supervisor immediately  
  • If requested, provide assistance for locating items in question

7.0    Procedures 

  • Once the employee has been shown proper identification and obtained a copy of the warrant, he/she should immediately call University Police at 564-2022, their direct supervisor, and the Assistant to the Vice President for Administration in the Management Services office at 564-2539.  
  • The warrant must identify the place to be searched and may have set time limits.  (i.e. Warrants often specify that they are for daytime searches only.)  All warrants have an expiration date.  Employees should read the warrant and make sure the warrant gives the agents the authority to search the premises of SUNY Plattsburgh (ensuring premises named aren't e.g. Clinton Community College).  
  • When the employee contacts Management Services, the employee should relate the following information (or fax a copy of the warrant): 
    • The facts of the warrant 
    • The law enforcement and regulatory agencies involved  
    • The areas to be searched under the provisions of the warrant  
    • The types of evidence to be seized under the warrant  
  • It is a crime to obstruct an agent in the lawful exercise of his/her duties, including execution of a warrant.  However, asking questions and requesting a copy of the warrant are not obstruction.  Remain calm, polite and observant.  (Observe the course of the search, but do not interfere with it.)  
  • Agents may use photocopy machines instead of seizing records with clearance from Management Services.  
  • All Federal and State agents are required to leave an inventory of items taken during the search.  This inventory must be forwarded to Management Services immediately.  
  • Be conscientious of the fact that any conversations with an agent will eventually be documented and probably used at a later date.  Other than assisting agents in locating items specified in the warrant, SUNY Plattsburgh employees do not have to submit to questioning. 
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