This Suspicious Package Response Guide is designed to aide Reynolds students and employees in the identification of and appropriate responses to a suspicious package.


Suspicious packages may be received by faculty, staff, or students and should be treated with caution. Packages and letters have been used by terrorists, activists, disgruntled employees, and jilted acquaintances to expose their target to biological agents, toxins, and explosives.


All students and employees should be aware of the possible indicators of a suspicious package. The presence of one or more of the following features should be cause for concern:

  • Unexpected mail with foreign postmarks, airmail, or uncharacteristic or abnormal delivery markings.
  • Postage irregularities, including excessive postage, no postage, or unusual stamps.
  • Return address Irregularities, such as: no return address, a return address that does not match the postmark, or a return address that is not familiar to the person to whom the package is addressed.
  • No postmark (may indicate hand delivery).
  • Delivery's address irregularities, such as a title without a name, an incorrect title with a name, or a generic title that is not used at Reynolds.
  • Badly typed, misspelled, or poorly written addresses and markings.
  • Restrictive markings or special handling instructions, such as "Personal," "Confidential," "Special Delivery," "Open by Addressee only".
  • Visual distractions on the package, such as drawings, statements, or handmade postage.
  • Rigid or bulky envelope.
  • Oddly shaped, unevenly weighted, lopsided, or lumpy package.
  • Odor emitting from the package. • Stains or discoloration on the package.
  • Protruding wires, tin foil, or other conductive materials.
  • Over-wrapping with excessive paper, tape, or string.
  • A package left by unknown person.


If you discover or receive a suspicious letter, the following procedures are to be followed:

  • Do not attempt to open the package.
  • If the package is stained, discolored, or emits an odor, do not attempt to identify the substance. If you encounter a leaking substance, wash hands and exposed skin vigorously with soap and flowing water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Do not handle, shake, or move the package or letter.
  • Calmly notify others in the immediate area, relocate to another room, and close the door behind you.
  • Contact the Department of Police (523-5219) as soon as you safely are able.
  • Take no further action until advised to do so by the Department of Police.

Responding Campus Police Officers will assess the threat and advise people in the vicinity if it is necessary to evacuate the building and/or area. The Department of Police will contact local, state, and federal authorities, as appropriate, if the package warrants further investigation or special handling.


Date Revised: 05/23/2019