Topic Number2.3.20Effective DateJanuary 1, 2014 (rev)
ProcedureSearch and Seizure
PurposeTo document protocols governing search and seizure practices
Accountability Indicators
  • WWRC manages necessary search and seizure protocols to facilitate successful rehabilitation programming and to reduce risks to consumers, staff and visitors, by defining appropriate circumstances for designated staff to search WWRC and/or consumer property and to hold property for further investigation and review.
  • WWRC employees consistently follow appropriate procedures for reporting a reasonable suspicion of a violation of law or Center regulations, as observed and documented. 
  • Authorized WWRC employees conduct search and seizure activities in a respectful, confidential, and timely manner, as observed, reported, and documented.
  • DRS Field Counselors, and family members as relevant, report satisfaction with the level and type of communication provided throughout the search and seizure process. 
Policy ReferenceN/A
Detailed Governance ReferenceN/A
Executive Staff ContactRuss Neyman, WWRC Deputy Director & Division Director, Facility Operations

 

Every Day in Every Way We…..  

Put Clients First

Are Organized, Utilized, and Valuable

Preserve Leadership Ethics, Accountability, Center Values, and Public Trust

 

Governance Procedures

Designated WWRC employees may search Center property and personal client belongings when there are available facts that provide reasonable grounds to search.  The search must be conducted in a manner that supports the Center's function as an educational and rehabilitation institution and that promotes an environment conducive to these functions.

 

Reasonable grounds for a search is defined as observable and/or reported facts that provide WWRC employees reason to believe (reasonable suspicion) that a search will turn up evidence that the client has violated or is violating either the law or Center regulations.

 

The measures used to conduct the search must be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive. The WWRC Dean of Students & Division director, Residential Service, or designee from the WWRC Director's Office must give prior approval for the search.   The client should be present during the search, if available. 

 

WWRC reserves the right to search Center property but the client must give consent to search their personal property. A WWRC Police Officer will normally conduct searches. The client's assigned Rehabilitation Counselor will be present if available.  If not, a dorm staff member will be present, if available.

 

Following the search, the client will be informed of the information received and the reason for the search. The information will be provided in a manner that protects the identity of persons who provided information confidentially. The assigned Rehabilitation Counselor will take appropriate action, based on findings of the search process and established rehabilitation team processes. 

 

The assigned Rehabilitation Counselor is responsible for communicating the reason and findings from a search process with the VR Rehabilitation Counselor in the person's home community and with family members, as appropriate.

 

If a consumer refuses a search of personal belongings, this should not be construed as evidence that the consumer is in possession of contraband.  The assigned Rehabilitation Team may consider a refusal to search personal belongings as "failure to cooperate" which may impact potential actions taken related to program continuation. 

 

The WWRC Police Department may obtain a search warrant if they feel there is probable cause to suspect illegal activity. 

 

Parameters of approved searches include the following:

  • Staff may search inside any locker, drawer, closet, bed or the like as they are considered property of the Commonwealth as long as they do not enter personal property without client consent.  Personal items handled must be returned intact and to the original location.
  • Search of the person can be done with client permission and is limited to asking for removal of items from pockets, legs of pants and shirtsleeves. A minimum of two staff shall be included in the search of a person.  If the search is performed by a Police Officer, department policies will apply.
  • In the event that there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a search will turn up evidence of danger to staff, clients, and/or property, approval may be given to search client personal belongings without consent. 

 

WWRC will conduct random, unannounced preliminary sweeps for illegal drugs. These sweeps will be conducted by certified law enforcement personnel and certified K-9 officers trained to detect the presence of illegal drugs. If a K-9 indicates the presence of illegal drugs, WWRC staff will proceed with a thorough search of the immediate area following the procedures outlined in this governance procedure. During this activity the area being swept will be restricted to only authorized personnel. Any unauthorized individual attempting to enter the restricted area or interfere in any way with this search will, through their behavior, be satisfying reasonable suspicion for a thorough search of their person, belongings, and/or dorm room.