How DPS Communicates in the Event of an Imminent Threat to Public Safety

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to make you aware of a disturbing and recent trend affecting schools, colleges and universities known as “swatting.” Swatting is when an anonymous caller makes an intentionally false report of the presence of an active shooter. Syracuse University experienced a case of swatting last night.

Some of you may have observed posts on social media claiming there was a shooter on our campus. When we learned of this claim, our officers in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) immediately responded to the report’s location where they confirmed the report was unfounded. Simultaneously, we were in touch with our local law enforcement partners who confirmed the report was similar in nature and origin to other swatting calls that have occurred in New York state and elsewhere.

I recognize the threat of an active shooter situation is all too real in the United States, particularly in light of today’s tragedy in Louisville, Kentucky, and other recent mass shootings in our country. As your police chief, it is my responsibility to ensure you are and feel safe on this campus. Part of that responsibility is having an emergency notification process in place that clearly communicates to our community when a threat to public safety is present. It is also my responsibility to prevent panic when no threat exists.

Notification Methods: Orange Alert System

In the event of an active shooter situation, you will receive immediate communications from DPS. These communications will be made via the Orange Alert System. Orange Alert provides 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 in which an immediate threat of physical harm exists.

We reserve the use of this system for situations where there is an active or imminent threat of physical danger to our campus community. That is because when you receive an Orange Alert, we need you to know to take immediate action as directed. Orange Alert will leverage the following communications methods:

  • email;
  • text messaging;
  • social media networks;
  • cell/landline phone calls to send a brief notice about the incident and instructions about what actions to take; and
  • sirens that sound on North Campus and South Campus.

After an Orange Alert message is broadcasted, more detailed follow-up information will be provided until it is determined the threat has been eliminated.

Sign Up in MySlice

To receive the emergency communications, all students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to log in to MySlice to ensure their contact information for Orange Alert is up to date. It is important to note that to receive text message notifications your cell phone number must be designated as a mobile device.

My colleagues and I are always available to discuss our processes, protocols and how we collaborate with local, state and federal law enforcement to keep our campus community safe. Finally, remember that the Department of Public Safety is here for you 24/7 by calling 315.443.2224 or by connecting on the Orange Safe app.


Craig A. Stone
Associate Vice President and Chief
Department of Public Safety