August 31, 2021
On behalf of the UW-Madison Police Department (UWPD), welcome to the Badger Community! And if you’re a returning Badger, welcome back! As a UW alum and former member of the UW Women’s Volleyball team, I know firsthand how exciting and rewarding the Badger experience can be — and as Chief of the UWPD, I understand that safety is essential to our students’ success. Serving in partnership to support and facilitate the educational mission of the UW-Madison, we work collaboratively with staff from Student Affairs, Housing, University Health Services, the City of Madison Police Department, and others, to ensure safety on and around our campus.
A great place to start learning more about UWPD’s many programs and services is our UWPD welcome website. Designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for students and families, this quick reference site outlines key safety initiatives such as our emergency notifications, community officers, and our WiscGuardian safety app, to name a few, and includes links to a host of useful safety resources. In addition, our main website contains a wealth of information like safety tips, data, news and events, policy and training, and my Chief’s Corner blog — all of which are updated regularly, so I encourage you to bookmark our website for continued reference throughout the school year.
Over the last few weeks, you’ve likely seen the various reports about crimes that have occurred off-campus in the downtown area close to where many of our students live. Understandably, these incidents have prompted some concern, along with several questions. Here are a few points that address many of the questions I’ve received:
- The recent crimes taking place have been targeted and have not involved UW-Madison students. I understand it’s still concerning when these types of events occur – but I wanted our community to understand these are not random acts of violence.
- The incidents generating concern occurred off-campus, outside of UWPD’s jurisdiction. The City of Madison Police Department (MPD) moved very quickly in response, apprehending suspects within minutes of the incident occurring. In a few of these cases, UWPD assisted in apprehending individuals involved. UWPD works closely with MPD to respond to matters of mutual concern. Mechanisms are in place to regularly share information between our agencies as needed to ensure safety in these areas where city and campus meet.
- UWPD will be increasing our visibility/patrol in downtown areas adjacent to campus over the next several weeks to discourage and combat the recent violence in the area.
In general, the City of Madison and the UW–Madison campus are safe. But as much as we work on prevention and visibility, we’re unfortunately not immune to crime. UW-Madison and UWPD have many resources available to help you stay safe:
- We’re proud of the work our UWPD Downtown Liaison Officer has done in the last 20 months. Officer Diego Lema Hernandez provides presentations to off-campus houses, builds relationships between our department and off-campus students, provides advocacy, and serves as an additional resource dedicated to promoting safety in our off-campus community. You can learn more about our UWPD Downtown Liaison Officer here.
- Students are automatically enrolled in our WiscAlert emergency alert system. This system is designed to quickly alert our community about an active and ongoing threat on campus. Learn more about WiscAlerts and when they’re sent.
- Off-Campus Emergency Alerts are issued when we’re aware of an off-campus incident within a certain geographical area that requires our community to take action to remain safe. In general, the alert zone is in the State Street and Langdon Street areas. Remember: just like our WiscAlerts, off-campus alerts are sent when we’re aware of an active and ongoing threat. In other words, if a situation is quickly resolved, alerts are generally not issued post-incident. Students must opt-in to receive these off-campus alerts – sign-up at the WiscAlert portal in MyUW. You can learn more about Off-Campus Emergency Alerts, and the geographical area that’s covered, here.
- In addition to general safety tips, you can find a wealth of resources on our website about various safety-related services and programs on campus:
If you have specific questions that I haven’t addressed, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll do our best to provide answers and get you the information you need.
In closing, thanks for taking the time to learn a bit more about safety and the various resources available. UWPD works 24/7 to ensure the UW-Madison community is a safe and enjoyable place for everyone.
Once again, welcome — and On Wisconsin!
Chief Kristen Roman
UW-Madison Police Department