Dear Students, Faculty and Staff: Over the past month our community has experienced unprecedented uncertainty. As Syracuse University confronts the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health emergency, our decisions and actions are informed daily by new information, policy guidance and public health…
Syracuse University Safety Communications
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
As we return to campus from the fall break, I want to remind you of how the Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides emergency notification and public safety messages about incidents affecting the Syracuse University community.
But first, I also want to be clear about when we communicate broadly and when we will not, as this has created frustration among members of our community in recent weeks.
When We Issue Broad Communications:
- When there is an active or imminent threat of physical danger to the campus community.
- When there is an active crime scene on or immediately adjacent to the campus and we need community members to avoid the area.
- When a perpetrator is at large on or immediately adjacent to the campus, and we need the community’s help locating the individual.
When Broad Communications Will Not be Issued:
- When initial investigation into an incident indicates there is no continuing threat.
- When another law enforcement agency has jurisdiction or is the lead investigator on an active case, and we have been directed not to issue a notice. That agency may communicate to the broader public and direct us to inform our community.
- When communicating broadly will impede or jeopardize an active investigation.
The summary below provides valuable information about how and why DPS uses emergency notification and public safety messages.
Bias Incidents: In recent weeks, we have established a new protocol as it relates to sharing information about bias-related incidents with our campus community. As part of that effort, we have introduced a new Bias Incident Reports web page where we will aggregate all bias-related incidents. This page will be continuously updated and accessible by students, faculty, staff, parents and other community members. Hate speech and other bias-related incidents will be posted to this page within 48 hours but likely much sooner. This channel will be your trusted source of accurate and reliable information moving forward. This protocol has been developed in partnership with law enforcement, which has advised the University against the repeated distribution of email notifications as they are likely to motivate copycats.
Public Safety Messages (Timely Warnings): Public safety messages are distributed via email and posted on the DPS website and on DPS social media accounts. There are three types of messages:
- Public Safety Notice designates a timely warning related to an ongoing concern for violence.
- Public Safety Information designates a warning related to an ongoing property crime problem or about general safety-related information.
- Public Safety Update provides information regarding a threat that has passed or an update to a previously issued Public Safety Notice.
Public safety messages include information about the incident that triggered the warning in order to promote safety and enable members of the campus community to protect themselves from similar incidents. They are intended to inform the community of suspects at large or an ongoing threat to campus community members and to seek the community’s help in identifying suspects and gathering pertinent details. Follow-up information will be disseminated when appropriate, and all alerts are posted online.
Emergency Notification and Response (Orange Alert): The Orange Alert system is designed to provide rapid notification and instructions to Syracuse University students, faculty and staff and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students in the event of a verified crisis where there exists an immediate threat of serious physical harm. All DPS peace officers have the authority to activate the Orange Alert system if necessary.
Orange Alert utilizes email, text messaging, social media networks and cell/landline phone calls to send a brief notice about the incident and instructions about what actions to take. Additionally, sirens located on the Kenneth A. Shaw Quad, Whitman School of Management building, Falk College complex and South Campus housing will sound in the event of an Orange Alert. After an Orange Alert message is broadcast, more detailed follow-up information will be provided through various means, including but not limited to the University’s website, University social media resources, email, phone, and campus radio and television resources.
Sign Up in MySlice: To receive the aforementioned communications, all students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to log into MySlice to ensure their contact information for Orange Alert is up to date. Students may also enter their parents’ and families’ contact information by logging into MySlice.
Reporting a Crime or Bias Incident: Anyone with information warranting an Orange Alert or a public safety message is encouraged to report the incident to DPS by immediately calling 315.443.2224; toll-free 855.443.2224; 711 from a campus landline; or via the LiveSafe app. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information to DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool. To report a bias incident or to receive support, visit the Stop Bias website.
My colleagues and I are always available to discuss our processes, protocols and how we collaborate with local, state and federal law enforcement.
Chief Bobby Maldonado
Department of Public Safety