University Police
Holloway Hall

Suspicious Letters, Packages, and Containera


  1. Report any incident of this nature to the University Police immediately (Ext. 36222).

  2. A University Police dispatcher will forward the call to the duty sergeant or officer in charge.

  3. The duty sergeant or officer in charge will speak to the reporting person and conduct an initial risk assessment.

  4. The duty sergeant or officer in charge will determine risk factors.

  5. If risk factors are low and exposure to biological agents is unlikely:

    1. An officer will be dispatched to the location to recover any possible evidence.

    2. Instruct reporting person to place item of concern in a sealed container such as a Ziploc baggie, trash bag, plastic bag, etc. that has been sealed with tape or wire wrap. This item is to be sprayed with a 5 percent bleach solution and transported inside of a cooler.

    3. If it is not sealed, determine if the package/letter/container contains any substance of concern. Anthrax is a white/grayish grainy powder. If the substance is another consistency, it could be powder, flour, etc. According to the experts, anthrax and other biological agents are rare and expensive; therefore, anything other than a very small amount would indicate the substance is something other than anthrax.

    4. The responding officer can seal a package/letter/container of low risk by placing it into a Ziploc baggie and then sealing that baggie in two additional bags. The last bag is to be sprayed with a 10 percent bleach solution. Double latex gloves are to be worn. (Each police vehicle is equipped with a small cooler, spray bottle, bleach, and latex gloves.)

    5. If necessary for moderate risk assessments, the scene should be cleaned by using a 5 percent bleach solution. It is suggested the solution remain in place for one hour.

    6. A chain of custody form is to be completed should it be determined the item be sent to the State Department of Health Lab.

  6. If risk assessment indicates the package/letter/container is a high level risk, contact Chief Lashley for further instructions or a personal response.

  7. If it is determined that the risk is too great, then call the 911 Center for response
    by the Salisbury Fire Department HazMat Team.