Police Powers and Related Actions

The University of Tennessee at Martin Police Officers are duly commissioned by the of the State of Tennessee and as such have full police powers to enforce the laws.

The Martin Police Department Police Officers have the authority and responsibility to enforce the laws of the State of Tennessee and the ordinances of the City of Martin.

There is a memorandum of understanding between the Campus and City Police departments, that in most cases establishes that the primary investigative agency for most crimes will be the agency that has primary jurisdiction over the area where the crime or most serious aspect of the crime occurred.

The Sheriff of Weakley County is the principal conservator of the peace in his county, and it is his duty to suppress all affrays, riots, unlawful assemblies, insurrections or other breaches of the peace, to do which he may summon to his aid as many of the inhabitants of the county as he thinks proper. Deputies have arrest authority throughout Weakley County.

It is the constable's duty to execute all process lawfully directed to him and to wait upon the court, when appointed by the county legislative body or by the sheriff as the case may be.

Primary Responsibilities of Law Enforcement


A police officer may come to the dorm rooms without a university official to accompany them. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies generally come by UT Martin's Department of Public Safety to make their presence known on campus. Arrests by officers for offenses may be made on any day and at any time. Whether the offender has to spend the night in jail is determined by the offense committed and what court has jurisdiction.


If a student is cited in the City of Martin or the Weakley County General Sessions Court, he/she will usually be allowed to sign their own bond. If they fail to appear at the court on the date and time assigned, a warrant will be issued and the student will be arrested. Attending class or taking a test is not an excuse to miss an assigned court date. If the student is incarcerated and/or charged with a serious misdemeanor or felony, they will be required to post a bond. The University will not post bond for a student.


Possession or use of alcoholic beverages on university-owned or controlled property or at university-sponsored or supervised activities is prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to drink or consume or to have an open can, bottle or any other container of alcoholic beverage in or on any public school ground, cemetery or church property within the corporate limits of the City of Martin, Tennessee. A person commits the offense of public intoxication who appears in a public place under the influence of a controlled substance or any other intoxicating substance to the degree that:

  1. The offender may be endangered
  2. There is endangerment to other persons or property
  3. The offender unreasonably annoys people in the vicinity

Any person convicted of public intoxication (T.C.A. 39-17-310) shall be sentenced and/or fined as a Class C Misdemeanor. It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years old to purchase, possess, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages, wine or beer unless otherwise authorized by the statute (T.C.A. 1-3-117). A sanction will be imposed by the court upon conviction: the court shall take any driver's license issued to the defendant by the State of Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Safety shall deny or suspend the driving privileges for one year, the first offense, two years, second or subsequent offenses. A fine and court costs will also be due. University policy prohibits any students from serving, possessing, consuming or receiving alcoholic beverages from anyone on university property. Penalties include disciplinary action up to and including warning, probation, suspension and indefinite suspension.

Driving Under the Influence

It is unlawful for any person or persons to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor-driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the State of Tennessee, or on any streets or alleys, or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park or any apartment house complex which is generally frequented by the public at large of any city or town in this state while under the influence of an intoxicant, or while under the influence of narcotic drugs, or while under the influence of drugs producing stimulating affects on the central nervous system. Any person or person in violation of Driving Under the Influence (TCA 55-10-401) shall upon the conviction thereof for the first offense be fined not less than three hundred fifty dollars ($350) nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) and such person or person's shall be confined in the county jail or workhouse for not less than forty-eight (48) hours nor more than eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days, provided, however, if such conviction is for forty-eight (48) hours it shall be served at a time when the person is off from work and will not interfere with his or her regular employment, and the court shall prohibit such convicted person from driving a vehicle in the State of Tennessee for a period of a time of one (1) year. The presumptive level of intoxication in the State of Tennessee is .08 as of July 1, 2003.

Theft of Services

If a person stays overnight in a dormitory and is not an assigned resident or registered guest that person may be charged with theft of services. A person commits theft of services who:

  1. Intentionally obtains services by deception, fraud, coercion, false pretense or any other means to avoid payment for the services.
  2. Having control over the disposition of services to others, knowingly diverts those services to the person's own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto;
  3. Knowingly absconds from establishments where compensation for services is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of them, including, but not limited to, hotels, motels and restaurants, without payment or a bona fide offer to pay.
What is Identity Theft

Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, and mother's maiden name, in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to, taking over the victim's financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards, and social security benefits, renting apartments and establishing services with utility and phone companies.

Preventive Actions

Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection mailboxes or at your local post office. Do not leave in unsecured mail receptacles. Never give personal information over the telephone, such as your social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number, or bank PIN code, unless you initiated the phone call. Protect this information and release it only when absolutely necessary. Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills and other financial information you don't want before discarding them in the trash or recycling bin. Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and IDs, or better yet, cancel the ones you do not use and maintain a list of the ones you do. Order your credit report from the three credit bureaus once a year to check for fraudulent activity or other discrepancies.

Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gasoline pumps. Keep track of all your paperwork. When you no longer need it, destroy it. Memorize your social security number and all of your passwords. Do not record them on any cards or on anything in your wallet or purse. Sign all new credit cards upon receipt. Save all credit card receipts and match them against your monthly bills. Be conscious of normal receipt of routine financial statements. Contact the sender if they are not received in the mail. Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number. Never loan your credit cards to anyone else. Never put your credit card or any other financial account number on a postcard or on the outside of an envelope. If you applied for a new credit card and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card company involved. Report all lost or stolen credit cards immediately. Closely monitor expiration date on the credit cards. Contact the credit card issuer if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration date. Beware of mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers.


Use caution when disclosing checking account numbers, credit card numbers, or other financial data at any Web site or on-line service location unless you receive a secured authentication key from your provider.

Theft of Property

A person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner's effective consent. Stores on campus include: Barnes and Noble Student Supply Store (Bookstore), J.W.'s Market, Food Court, or the Cafeteria.

Fire/Bomb Threats

False Reports - It is unlawful for any person to report to a law enforcement officer an offense or incident within the officer's concern:

  1. Knowing the offense or incident did not occur;
  2. Knowing the person reporting has no information relating to the offense or incident;
  3. Knowing the information relating to the offense is false; or intentionally initiate or circulate a report of a past, present, or impending bombing, fire or other emergency, knowing the report is false or baseless and knowing:
    • It will cause action of any sort by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with those emergencies
    • It will place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
    • It will prevent or interrupt the occupation of any building, place of assembly, form of conveyance, or any place to which the public has access.

It is an offense for any person to possess, or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, black-jack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field, or any other property owned, used, or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration or any public or private educational institution. The possession of a permit to carry a concealed weapon does not allow a person to carry a weapon onto campus property. Felony, state law prescribes a maximum penalty of six (6) years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed three thousand dollars ($3,000) for carrying weapons on school property. If you commute to campus, day or night, you still cannot carry a weapon on your person or in your vehicle. This also applies to any visitors or guests.

The University Police Department will store weapons for hunters. Weapons may be checked in/out 24 hours a day at the Department of Public Safety.

Identification Card

Each full-time student at the university is required to obtain and carry an official university identification card (Skyhawk Card). The Skyhawk card is used to check out books from the library; to use the check cashing service; to gain access to dorms and computer labs; to gain admission to certain events sponsored by the University and student organizations: to obtain discounts on items from certain local businesses: and to establish the owner's right to use university facilities. The Skyhawk is also a debit card that can be used for purchases at Sodexo food services, the Computer Store and Bookstore, vending machines across campus and to print and make copies. The Skyhawk card is the property of the university and may be reclaimed if used by any person other than the person identified on the card. It must be shown when requested by any university official.

Skyhawk Cards are made at the Skyhawk Card Services, 211 Boling University Center, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding holidays. Returning students have their card validated when fees are paid during registration. Lost or stolen cards need to be reported immediately to Skyhawk Card Services (881-7825), Public Safety (881-7777) or Sodexo's Customer Service Desk (881-7770). A replacement card cost $15.00 and may be obtained at the Skyhawk Card Services.

Worthless Checks

A person commits an offense who, with fraudulent intent or knowingly:

  1. Issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money for the purpose of paying any fee, fine, tax, license or obligation to any governmental entity or for the purpose of obtaining money, services, labor, credit or any article of value, knowing at the time there are not sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee [person who received the check] for the payment in full of the check or order, as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance;
  2. Stops payment on a check or similar sight order for the payment of money for the purpose of paying any fine, tax, license or obligation to any governmental entity or for the purpose of obtaining money, services, labor, credit or any article of value; provided, that such money, credit, goods or services were as represented at the time of the issuance of the check or similar sight order.
Processing of Worthless Checks

TCA 39-14-121 states that the person who received the check (drawee) must mail a 10-day notice to the person who has written the check (drawer) letting him or her know that the check came back due to insufficient funds. The notice must be mailed by certified mail with return receipt requested, and addressed to the person who has written the check at the address shown. The person who received the check is only required by law to show proof that he or she has mailed a notice to the person who has written the check; the person who received the check is not required to prove the person who has written the check has received the notice before further legal action can be taken. A person who has passed a check on a closed account has committed fraud. A notice, in this case, is not required to be mailed to the person who has written a fraudulent check.

The University of Tennessee at Martin has the right to pursue the same legal course of action as other businesses that must process worthless checks. The University, however, may also restrict check writing privileges, and take appropriate disciplinary action of persons in the university community who consistently pass worthless checks to the University. Students who have committed this offense will be arrested and appropriately penalized.

The offense of issuing or passing worthless checks is punishable as theft pursuant to TCA39-14-105. Value shall be determined by the amount appearing on the face of the check on the date of issue.

Counterfeit Driver's License

It is an offense for any person to photograph, duplicate, or in any way reproduce or sell any driver's license or facsimile thereof, in such a manner that it could be mistaken for a valid Tennessee driver's license. Penalties include up to six months in jail, or fine and suspension of driver privileges for a period of six months.


Participation of students in hazing activities. "Hazing" means intentional or reckless act, on or off the University property, by one student, acting alone or with others, which is directed against any other student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of that student, or which induces or coerces a student to endanger his or her mental physical safety, and includes treatment of a violent, abusive, shameful, insulting, or humiliating nature. Such action is prohibited when connected with initiation into or an affiliation with an organization and does not include participation in customary athletic events or similar competition. Report all "Hazing" to Student Affairs at 881-7700 or Department of Public Safety at 881-7777.