DPS News

Challenge Coin Ceremony for New Peace Officers

 Officers (left to right) Dishaw, Branch, Ramirez & Alvarez standing together holding up their challenge coins
Officers (left to right) Dishaw, Branch, Ramirez and Alvarez

At the end of last week, we held challenge coin ceremony’s for our seven officers who recently completed their field training. Never heard of a challenge coin ceremony? Learn the history below:

During WWI, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Harvard and Yale who quit mid-term to join the war. In one squadron a lieutenant ordered medallions struck on solid bronze carrying the squadron emblem for every member of his squadron. He carried his medallion in a pouch around his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallions, the pilot’s aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took his uniform and all personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck not realizing the significance of the coin.

Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols and reached the front lines. With great difficulty he crossed no-man’s land. Eventually he stumbled into a French outpost. Unfortunately, the

Officer Lebron presenting Officer Pearson with challenge coin while shaking hands.
Officer Pearson (left) with Peace Officer Academy Director, Dan Lebron (right).

French in his sector had been plagued by saboteurs. The saboteurs sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot’s American accent and since he

had no uniform or any form or identification, the French thought he was a saboteur and were going to execute him. Just in time he remembered the coin in the leather pouch. He showed the coin

to his would be executioners. His French captors recognized the squadron symbol on the coin and delayed long enough to confirm his identity whereupon they shared a bottle of wine with him. They were challenging him to prove that he was one of them, that they shared the same cause and

the coin saved his life.

Back at his squadron, and after hearing his story, it became a tradition to ensure that all members carried their coin at all times. This was accomplished by a challenge conducted in the following manner:

Challenge Coin Rules

  • The challenge is initiated by drawing your coin, holding it in the air by whatever means possible and state, shout or otherwise verbally acknowledge that you are initiating a coin check. You may also place it or strike it on a hard surface such as a table. If you accidentally drop your coin and it makes an audible sound it is still considered a challenge.
  • The response consists of all those present responding in a like manner within 15 seconds. At the time of the challenge you are allowed one step and an arm’s reach to locate your coin. All coin holders present will participate during a challenge. A response can be with any other challenge coin.
  • If there is a challenge and a person is unable to respond then the individual(s) without their coin are required to buy a meal and or beverage of choice for the individual who issued the challenge.
  • If everyone being challenged responds with their coin then the person who challenged is required to buy a meal for all those he/she challenged.
  • Failure to buy a meal and or beverage is considered despicable and a failure of unit trust. Some units require that you return your coin should you do so.
  • Officers Zaccari, Welling, & Bennett standing together holding up challenge coins
    Officers (left to right) Zaccari, Welling, and Bennett

    Coin checks are allowed anytime, anywhere and anyplace.

  • There are no exceptions to the rule.
  • An organization or unit coin is a coin. Belt buckles are belt buckles, key chains are key chains. However a coin placed in some fashion around the neck is considered a coin.
  • You are responsible for your coin. If someone else is looking at or accidentally drops your coin on a hard surface you are responsible for the consequences of the challenge. However, no one can borrow your coin and force a challenge.
  • Once you agree to carry a coin it comes with an obligation of group loyalty and traditions of the coin. Don’t accept a coin if you do not share the values and beliefs of the group shared with a willingness to respect the traditions of the challenge coin.

If you carry this coin you do so with an obligation to those ideals it embraces and all challenge coin rules apply. May you carry the coin in good spirit, good health and always with a sense of nobility.

Public Safety Informational Notice: Bicycle Larcenies

For the protection and safety of Syracuse University students, faculty, staff and neighbors, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) releases the following informational notice:

Bicycle Larcenies

DPS has had several reported bicycle larcenies on campus over the last few weeks. Each of the stolen bicycles had been secured to a bicycle rack with a cable lock, which can be cut easily and discreetly.

Arrests have been made by DPS regarding these thefts, but the problem can persist if we are not diligent. DPS recommends using a U-bolt type of lock to better secure your bicycle and deter theft. These locks are available at the Syracuse University Bookstore in the Schine Student Center, as well as at most local retail stores and bicycle shops.

In addition, please consider registering your bicycle with DPS. To do that, complete this form and set up an appointment with an officer. A registration number will be affixed to your bicycle, and that information will be kept on record.

As always, we ask our community to remain vigilant to help keep our campus safe. To report a crime, contact DPS at 315.443.2224. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information to DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool.

This information is issued for your safety in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act.

National Test of the Emergency Alert System on Wednesday, October 3

On Wednesday, October 3, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, October 3. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016,  and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of the WEA test.

ASL Video PSA: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/168912

Website: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test

Important Safety Resources and Information

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Now that a new semester is underway, the Department of Public Safety wants to remind all members of our campus community about important safety services and information that can help make your semester enjoyable and safe.

Safety Strategies – While your chances of being a victim of a crime are actually very low, it is still important to be aware of certain safety strategies while at Syracuse University:

  • Always lock your windows and doors, even if you are only going to be away from your room for a short period of time or while you are 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 behind – 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. While your chances of being a victim of a crime are actually very low, most street crime incidents occur at night and usually involve students walking alone or with just one other person.

LiveSafe – Connecting with DPS is as easy as opening an app on your smartphone. With LiveSafe, you can call DPS or 911 in the event of an emergency, report tips including videos and 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!

Orange Alert – This is the University’s crisis notification system, designed to provide rapid notification and instruction in the event of a crisis in progress. We perform a test of this system every semester and will be scheduling one for the upcoming month. In addition, due to our expanding campus, we recently added two more sirens to our system; one on the top of the Whitman School and the other on the top of Falk College. Please log into MySlice to verify that your contact information is up to date.

Run.Hide.Fight. – While an active shooter situation is unlikely, it is important to be prepared. We have put together a video for you to understand the importance of these three words: Run.Hide.Fight.

Text SUSAFE to 444-999 – Adding important Syracuse University safety and support contact information is also quick and simple! When you text SUSAFE to 444-999 you will be sent a link to download a contact card that you can save right to the contact list on your phone.

Finally, remember that the Department of Public Safety is here for you 24/7. We can be reached anytime at 315.443.2224 or on the LiveSafe app.


Chief Bobby Maldonado

Text SUSafe to 444-999 to Download Important University Contacts

The Divisions of Campus Safety and Emergency Services and Enrollment and the Student Experience are rolling out a new initiative to make storing relevant campus safety information on your cell phone easier. With a simple download, you will be able to import contact cards that contain information for the following campus resources:

  • Department of Public Safety
  • Safety Escorts
  • Syracuse University Ambulance
  • Counseling Center
  • Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team
  • Title IX Office
  • Student Assistance

Once you download the contact cards, it will automatically save information, including phone numbers, e-mail addresses, websites, and other links, for the above listed resources, to the address book in your cell phone.

To download the contact cards, text “SUSafe” to 444-999 to get both contact cards added to your cell phone today; follow this link to start the download; or a text message will be sent to your cell phone tomorrow with a link to download the cards.

Once you send the text, follow the instructions below to download the contact cards:

  1. You will receive a text with a download link shorty after.
  2. Click the download link in your texting application. You will now be brought to a KeynectUp web page with a link to the contact card.
  3. Click “download card” or “open in contacts” on the KeynectUp web page. The contact card will now be brought to your contact book.
  4. Click “save” or “open in contacts” on the web page. That is it, you are done!

If you have any problems with downloading the card, you can reach out to KeynectUp directly via text or phone call at 603.531.3211 or by email at support@keynectup.com.

Finally, during this introductory period only, our service provider, KeynectUp, will draw the phone number of one user, and our lucky winner will receive a $100 Visa gift card! You must complete the download in order to be entered for the drawing.

Public Safety Informational Notice Update: Burglaries

As a follow up to the August 28th Public Safety Informational Notice regarding the burglaries that occurred at Watson and Lawrinson Residential Halls, the Syracuse Police Department has announced the arrest of two individuals. The investigation is ongoing at this time and is expected to conclude in the near future.

The Syracuse Police Department, more specifically, the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), should be commended for the outstanding work that led to these arrests. The CID’s investigative work, in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety detectives and the University’s technical resources, were instrumental in leading to this swift and successful conclusion.

As always, we ask our community to remain vigilant in helping to keep our campus safe. To report a crime, contact please contact the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information for DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool.

For your safety, please review these suggested safety strategies.

This public safety information is issued for your safety in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act.

Public Safety Update: Reported Robbery

On Saturday, September 1, 2018, at approximately 2:55 a.m., two students reported they were approached by an unknown male while standing outside their house on the 1200 block of Madison Street. The male displayed what appeared to be a black handgun and knife and demanded both students’ property. The students gave the male their cellphone and handbag. The suspect fled the scene on foot westbound on Madison Street towards Comstock Avenue. No injuries were reported. The male suspect is described as 6’0 tall, 20’s, wearing a black zip up sweater. No further description was provided.

If you were in the vicinity at the time of this incident, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) asks for your help in identifying the suspect.

If anyone has any information regarding this incident or others, please contact the Syracuse Police Department at 315.442.5222 or the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224.

As always, we ask our community to remain vigilant in helping to keep our campus safe. To report a crime, contact please contact the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224. If you would like to anonymously report NON-EMERGENCY information for DPS, you can use the Silent Witness tool.

For your safety, please review these suggested safety strategies.

This public safety information is issued for your safety in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act.

Public Safety Notice: Robbery

On Saturday, September 1, 2018, at approximately 02:55 a.m, DPS received a report of a robbery that occurred at 1213 Madison Street. The Syracuse Police Department and the Department of Public Safety are on the scene and investigating this incident. We ask that you stay away from the area, at this time and that you call DPS at 315.443.2224, should you have information regarding this incident. More information to follow.

Public Safety Informational Notice: Burglaries

Yesterday evening, two different fire alarms were pulled in an effort to create a distraction and to burglarize unlocked residence hall rooms; one in Watson Hall and the other in Lawrinson Hall. Certain personal items including cash, speakers, headphones, wallets, shoes, jewelry and other items were stolen.

Our detectives, along with the Syracuse Police Department, are actively investigating these incidents. If you have information about those responsible for this activity or if you believe you have been a victim of these burglaries, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224.

This kind of activity will not be tolerated and will be investigated with all available resources. We have increased patrols in and around the residence halls. Additionally, we will dispatch additional law enforcement and fire safety staff to fire alarm pull incidents. We have also alerted the residence hall staff to these incidents.

As a reminder, should a fire alarm go off in your building, follow these useful tips:

•    Anytime you leave your room, whether it is a fire alarm or even if it is only for few minutes to visit a friend, you need to take your key with you and always lock your door.
•    Exit the building in a calm, swift, and safe manner using the exit that is closet to your room.
•    Move away from the building and wait to receive confirmation once it is deemed safe to reenter.
•    Finally, when exiting or entering a residence hall, do not hold the door open for someone behind you; it is expected that everyone is to swipe their SUID card to access our campus buildings.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224.