(Photo: Tyler Delgado)
By: Jack Adams, Staff Reporter
Have you ever seen an RU alert and wondered how it was reported? Or maybe you have seen an incident on campus and wondered, should I report this? Perhaps you are merely curious about how Regis is working to keep you safe. Well, I was left asking all of these questions and more after seeing a particularly harrowing RU alert this past week about a man carrying a hatchet near the Northwest Denver campus. In an attempt to answer my concerns regarding Regis University Campus Safety, I recently interviewed the current head of campus safety Mr. Ed Perez. Perez was extremely helpful in quelling my fears about student safety on the Regis campus, and he provided me with some helpful insight into the workings of Regis University’s Campus Safety Department.
My first question for Perez was regarding what factors go into declaring an event on campus an RU alert. He informed me that there were two types of alerts the University is required to give out: timely warning alerts (Regis calls these “crime alerts”), and emergency notifications. Both types of alerts are mandated by the Clery Act, which is a federal statute requiring colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information. Students can find Regis University crime and safety statistics for the past three years in the annual security report, which comes out every fall.
According to Perez, the first type of alert (crime alert), “is issued when there is enough information to give to the community to protect themselves and avoid the occurrence of crime.” Crimes that qualify for this type of alert are outlined by the Clery Center and include criminal offenses, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses, hate crimes, and other violations. The second type of RU alert is an emergency notification, also referred to as an immediate notification. This type of notification, according to Perez, is “for events happening at the present time. It could be a crime or anything that may have an effect on the health and safety of the Regis community.” While there is no specific time frame for when Regis to act on these crimes, the Department of Education does audit universities on how efficiently they respond. During a lockdown a few years ago, it took Regis ten minutes from the initial reporting of the crime until the RU lockdown alert was sent; Perez informed me that this is considered extremely fast. The major difference between the two types of alerts is based on the fact that emergency alerts are required from life-threatening situations, and they also require a follow-up message. There is also the “other type” of RU alert, public safety announcements, which are issued for events that happen outside of the defined geography of the campus.
Campus safety officers are well trained, receiving CPR, First-Aid, AED and defense skill training. Officers are also trained on threat assessment, the intricacies of the geography of the campus (i.e. where fire alarms, rescue chairs, and other safety equipment is), and report writing. Regis Campus Safety will utilize these skills to protect others and themselves and are a great resource for students to use if they see a crime. However, they are not an armed department. If there is a situation which they cannot defend, such as an active shooter, then call 911. The most efficient way to keep Regis safe though is for students to feel empowered to immediately report suspicious activity. By the time the information gets to campus safety, it is already old information. Even an event reported right away could take 10-15 minutes before it is issued as an RU alert. Basically, if U R alert, then you can help keep RU alert.