Improve BUPD Emergency Communication

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Fellow students,

Like many of you, I am outraged regarding the lack of notification and communication from our university surrounding the armed robbery on April 13, 2015. Bradley and Peoria police departments responded to an armed robbery at 9:37 p.m. in the 1500 block Fredonia Avenue when a female student reported she was approached by two men, one of which displayed a handgun, who stole her property and then fled the scene. The official Safety Alert from the university police department noted that one of the two suspects was arrested at 10:32 p.m., and the second suspect, as of 4 p.m. April 14, remains at-large. 

News of this armed robbery spread to the student body via word of mouth and social media within moments of the incident, but we, the students, were not notified by the university of any information surrounding the incident until 11:16 p.m., nearly two hours later. Two dangerous, armed men were roaming our campus community, fleeing from Fredonia Avenue to Bradley Avenue before being one of them was arrested. 

While I am thankful the situation did not escalate past the initial armed robbery, I cannot help but imagine what may have happened to any student who was walking around campus during the time these two men were roaming free, seeing as the housing from Fredonia Avenue to Bradley Avenue is filled with Bradley student houses and Peoria resident families. 

Even after the arrest of the first suspect was made, police took 45 additional minutes to send out the first and only safety alert - an alert that did not mention whether the handgun had been retrieved or was in possession of the second suspect still at-large. 

I am deeply passionate about Bradley University, but this incident has tarnished my feeling of security and safety within our campus. My insecurity lies not so much in the crime as it does in the lack of notification received. I believe that an emergency alert should have been sent out from the moment the police were made aware that there were armed and dangerous men walking around our campus in an area that is all Bradley student housing. I understand the difference between a Safety Alert and a ForeWarn text message alert, as well as the policies and procedures outlined on the BUPD website as to how these are used, but a Safety Alert is defined as "a means to notify students, faculty and staff about incidents that represent a serious or continuing threat to the campus, based on the nature and location of the incident." The Safety Alert issued was not timely, and there was both a serious and continuing threat to the campus for two hours following the armed robbery at 9:37 p.m. Regardless of whether the police had sufficient information to send a fully detailed report, students should have been immediately notified of a security risk on campus and instructed to stay indoors until further notice. 

I ask for your signature. Let's come together and tell Bradley University administrators and the police department that their communication regarding this event is unacceptable. We, the students, demand that the university immediately review and update their procedures for notification of such events for students in future situations. All are welcome to sign.

Joe Waytula

(Thank you to Samantha Pallini and all other students who helped create and support this petition.)

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