Important Campus Safety Communications

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

For those just joining our campus community, welcome! And to our returning students, faculty and staff, welcome back! With a new semester underway, I would like to take this opportunity to review the processes and protocols that guide when and how the Department of Public Safety (DPS) communicates about safety matters.

Communications Processes

The summary below explains how and why DPS uses emergency notification and public safety messages. This includes how, when and via what channels we issue safety communications. Regardless of the incident or situation, we will always prioritize the safety of our campus community.

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 suspect is at large on or immediately adjacent to the campus and we need the community’s help locating the individual.

When we will not issue broad communications:

  • 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 in a timely manner, we will always prioritize maintaining the integrity of an investigation, especially when we are following active leads.

Reporting a Crime or Bias Incident

To report an incident to DPS, please call us immediately at 315.443.2224, toll-free at 855.443.2224, by dialing 711 from a campus landline or via the Emergency Contacts button on the Orange Safe 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.

Bias Incidents

In 2020, we introduced a Bias Incident Reports webpage where we aggregate bias-related incidents. Bias-related incidents are posted to this page within 48 hours, unless posting will impede or jeopardize an active investigation. This protocol has been developed in partnership with the Syracuse Police Department, New York State Police, the FBI and district attorney’s office and is aligned with best practices of peer universities.

Throughout the winter break the webpage has undergone some updates to increase transparency and create an improved user experience. Updates to the webpage include:

Additionally, we have incorporated access to these new resources into the user interface of the Orange Safe app.

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:

  1. Public Safety Notice designates a timely warning related to an ongoing concern for violence.
  2. Public Safety Information designates a warning related to an ongoing property crime problem or about general safety-related information.
  3. Public Safety Update provides information regarding a threat that has passed or an update to a previously issued Public Safety Notice.

These messages promote safety and 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 an immediate threat of serious physical harm exists.

Orange Alert uses email, text messaging, push notifications from the Orange Safe app, 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 will sound on North and South Campus. After an Orange Alert message is broadcasted, more detailed follow-up information will be provided.

This system is also utilized in the event of extreme weather, and with the current threat of extreme winter weather, it is vital to have your most up-to-date contact information inputted.

Sign Up in MySlice

To receive the aforementioned 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.

We 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. DPS is here for you 24/7 by calling 315.443.2224 or by connecting on the Orange Safe app.

Wishing you a successful semester!


Chief Craig A. Stone
Department of Public Safety
Student Experience Division