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Behind the scenes of a “timely warning”

AHEC’s Blaine Nickeson explains why and how you receive alerts about crime on campus and what you need to know about the Clery Act.

By Matt Watson

November 28, 2018

Exterior of campus police stationHave you ever wondered where those “timely warning” emails come from or why you receive them? Blaine Nickeson, chief of Safety and Communications for the Auraria Higher Education Center, shares everything you need to know about timely warnings and the Clery Act that requires them.

What does the Clery Act require of higher-education institutions?

Nickeson: The Clery Act is a federal law that deals with transparency related to campus safety. Colleges and universities must publish Annual Security Reports (here is MSU Denver’s 2017 report) that include crime statistics, policies related to preventing and responding to crimes on campus and other safety-related information. Throughout the year, the Clery Act requires institutions to publish a daily crime log and to notify the campus of certain crimes and emergencies that take place.

What triggers a timely warning?

Nickeson: Timely warnings are email notifications that are sent for specific crimes listed in the Clery Act (such as aggravated assault, robbery and sexual assault, among others). These crimes must have occurred on or near the campus, have been reported to authorities and still present a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. The goal of sending a timely warning is to give the campus community the ability to protect themselves from being the victim of a similar crime.

How are timely warnings created and distributed?

Nickeson: The process for sending a timely warning starts with the Auraria Campus Police Department, which is a part of AHEC’s Safety and Communications division. A collaborative division team works together 24/7 every day of the year to verify the available information, decide on the proper course of action and issue a timely warning if needed.

Timely warnings are sent only by email, as opposed to “emergency notifications,” which are for imminent threats such as a tornado, fire or active shooter. Those are sent using the RAVE Emergency Notification System via text message and email. Because those alerts are for imminent threats, it is imperative that faculty and staff keep their cellphone numbers updated in the RAVE system.

Who receives timely warnings from AHEC?

Nickeson: Timely warning emails go to all students, faculty and staff on the Auraria Campus. As they are required by federal law, you cannot opt out of these important emails.

Is there anything else faculty and staff need to know about timely warnings?

Nickeson: Timely warning emails will contain information about the incident, including as many details as possible about any suspects involved. The emails also include a list of resources to help promote safety on campus and support victims of crimes.

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