Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Every month, I send a message to our community to provide important information from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). As we begin a new academic year, I have several updates to share specific to:
- Progress Made Toward Implementing Recommendations by Loretta Lynch
- Rave Guardian Mobile Safety App
- DPS Safety Strategies
- DPS Communications Processes
- Monthly Bias Update
Loretta Lynch Progress Updates
Our team is continuing to implement recommendations made by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Currently, we have 70% of the recommendations complete. I want to highlight some of the progress that was made over the summer:
- Our next Campus Peace Officer Academy will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
- The new DPS South Campus Community Center will open in the next few weeks. We are looking forward to welcoming students to visit us in this new space. Keep an eye out for more details about this.
- The safety escort program is now managed by Parking and Transportation Services. Safety escort shuttles can be requested by calling 315.443.7433 (RIDE). To learn more about this new service, visit parking.syr.edu.
- We have added important content to our website, including the following:
- We have made updates to our campus safety brochure[PDF], which are available in print format in various offices across campus.
- DPS staff completed in-service training, which included all elements and the definition of a hate crime, terminology and proper investigative steps needed up to conclusion.
- Our team worked with Human Resources to update officer job descriptions and performance review templates to add evaluation elements of community policing other than community engagement, such as problem solving and procedural justice.
Download the Rave Guardian Safety Mobile App
Last spring, we introduced the Rave Guardian app. This app replaced the LiveSafe app but still offers all the same features, including easily connecting with emergency resources, safety timers, anonymous tip reporting and quick access to critical resources. Please download this important app today! For more information about the app, including frequently asked questions, visit dps.syr.edu.
Our chief priority is your health, safety and well-being. Below are some actions you can take to protect yourself while at your residence, on campus or out in the community.
- Always lock your windows and doors, even if you’re only going to be away from your room for a short period of time or while you’re sleeping at night. Criminals look for opportunities like an open window or unlocked door.
- Keep your stuff with you! Never leave cell phones, laptops, wallets or other valuables out of your sight—it only takes a few seconds for someone to walk away with them.
- Use a U-bolt locking device for your bicycle and register your bike with DPS.
- Never walk alone. Most street crime incidents occur at night and usually involve students walking alone or with just one other person.
- Connecting with DPS is as easy as opening an app on your smartphone. With Rave Guardian, you can call DPS or 911 in the event of an emergency; report tips, including pictures; or use the SafeWalk feature, which permits you to virtually share your location with friends as you walk to a destination. Download the app today!
- Run. Hide. Fight.: In the event of an active shooter situation, it’s important to be prepared. We created a video for you to understand the importance of these three words: Run. Hide. Fight.
Throughout the semester, you will receive DPS communications. For those of you who are new to our campus, we want to inform you of why, how and when you will receive these communications. For our returning community members, this serves as a reminder.
When we issue broad communications across the campus community:
- 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. Please note: although it is our intention to communicate broadly any bias-related incident within 48 hours, we will always prioritize maintaining the integrity of an investigation, especially when we are following active leads.
Visit the DPS website to review additional information about how DPS uses emergency notification and public safety messages.
Monthly Bias Update
In each month’s message, I also provide updates on any incidents that occurred in the weeks prior. Today’s updates include:
July 10: A group of students reported being approached by a silver SUV. The occupants reportedly threw an egg that struck one of the students and shouted anti-Semitic language.
Update: DPS officers and detectives are still making efforts to identify the responsible individuals.
July 20: Flyers that contained language derogatory to Chinese and African American individuals found in Bird Library.
Update: As a result of DPS officers and detectives conducting interviews, reviewing recorded CCTV footage, and evaluating electronic data, a person of interest has been identified. This individual, who does not attend the University, will be barred from the campus.
Aug. 1: A student was walking on East Genesee Street when an unknown male reportedly approached them making derogatory statements about Asian individuals. The suspect also spat in the student’s direction.
Update: Since learning of the incident, DPS detectives canvassed the area businesses, conducted numerous interviews, reviewed CCTV footage and conducted surveillances in the area. As a result, a non-affiliate was identified as the responsible subject and interviewed. The party was interviewed and has been barred from the campus.
To report a bias incident, please contact DPS directly at 315.443.2224. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information to DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool or submit anonymous tips via the Rave Guardian app. Any bias-motivated incident reported to DPS will be posted on our public site, so that our campus community can remain informed. You can also report a bias incident and receive support through the STOP Bias website.
Sign up to subscribe to the bias incident reports.
I hope you find this information useful and valuable. I look forward to sharing more with you this semester and remember, don’t miss your opportunity to have lunch with me before I retire!
Chief Bobby Maldonado