Know where to go during Tuesday’s tornado drills?

On Tuesday, students and staff at Indiana University will have the opportunity to try out what they would do if in the path of a tornado. As our peers at IU Kokomo know, the threat is real — a tornado caused considerable damange near the Kokomo campus last summer. While Indiana averages 20 tornadoes annually, it saw 35 last year.

Operation Stormy Weather flyerIU’s Operation Stormy Weather is held in conjunction with drills conducted by schools, municipalities and emergency management agencies statewide. New this year — IU is automating its IU-Notify emergency alerts so that tornado warnings can be issued several minutes quicker.

“The damage caused by tornadoes can be devastating and deadly,” said Diane Mack, university director for IU Emergency Management and Continuity. “With this change, IU-Notify emergency alerts will be issued at the same time the National Weather Service issues tornado warnings. This should provide a few extra minutes to respond when seconds can make a difference.”

During the morning and evening drills, students, staff and faculty members are expected to respond as they would to the real deal: heading to their severe weather shelter or the safest location available. IU President Michael A. McRobbie and faculty leadership sent a letter to colleagues earlier this year emphasizing the importance of complying with emergency instructions during real-life incidents and drills.

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Tips for avoiding ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software (malware) that encrypts files and then displays a message about how access can be regained by paying a ransom. There is no guarantee paying the ransom will actually restore access to those files.

Image of a ransomware messageNot only can it cause a complete loss of access to files on your local machine, but also to any shared networked drive(s). This means your misstep can not only lead to the loss of your baby pictures, but may also cause others to lose access to their files which may include dissertations, budgets, music, accounts receivable files, etc.

Sara Chambers, IU’s Chief Privacy Officer, and Tim Goth, incident response manager for the University Information Policy Office, share insights and tips for keeping your digital data and that of others safe.

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Public Safety and Institutional Assurance falls under the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO.

How secure is your data?

Two cybersecurity articles caught my eye today. One discusses ransomware attacks on universities and quotes my colleague Kim Milford, executive director of REN-ISAC, Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which is based at IU. The other article discusses research from the Pew Research Center that shows Americans surveyed are generally loose with their password security while also doubting government agencies can protect their data.

In Inside Higher Ed’s article Your Data or Your Money: Hackers are locking colleges’ data away and demanding payment to return it. But paying the ransom raises new issues, experts say, experts say paying the ransom when a ransomware attack locks you out of your data and threatens to make it unusable doesn’t always solve the problem.

Kim Milford

Kim Milford

“It has to be a case-by-case decision,” Milford is quoted as saying. The article’s reporter said Milford encouraged colleges infected with ransomware to ask themselves the following question before deciding whether to pay: “Can we carry on with our business without this vital information that is being held ransom?”

Ransomware has been around since the 80s, according to the article, but has become a more common threat in recent years. Sometimes data is not restored even after the ransom is paid.
“What we find in cyberthreats is once somebody shows success, everybody is happy to exploit that success,” Milford said. “If they pay the ransom and it gets publicized, people start targeting them more and more and more. It’s a slippery slope.”

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Business continuity plans — save ’em if you’ve got ’em

IU Ready, the tool used at Indiana University to create and store business continuity plans (every department should have one), is being upgraded Nov. 17-18. The 800 plus plans stored on IU Ready won’t be available during the upgrade so plan coordinators are asked to download a copy in case it’s needed.

Firefighters putting out a fire


Business continuity plans detail how departments would continue conducting their work if faced by short-term or long-term emergencies, such as power outages or fires. The plans should be updated annual and are examined when departments are audited.

Cinda Haff, the business continuity manager for IU Emergency Management and Continuity, says the upgrade should make IU Reader easier to use. Navigation is more intuitive, reports will be viewable on screen, and it will be mobile. Here are more details about the transition and changes to the new IU Ready:

  • Contents of existing department business continuity plans will migrated into the new version of the product at the time of the upgrade.
  • The new version reflects a refreshed look and feel that may assist in efforts to collect and manage business continuity details.
  • New ‘global navigation menu,’ with links to details screens, appears on every screen in the application. This replaces the menu tabs that were unique to each screen in the prior version
  • Guidance panels, specific information for each screen on how to input your data, hav been upgraded to provide clearer and more meaningful instructions.
  • For managing plan access, the use of the Gatekeeper role has been discontinued — the user type “plan manager” will be used for managing plan content and access. Two other roles are available – “plan editors” can update individual plan content and “plan viewers” have view only access.
  • New product version provides one screen to manage plan status instead of multiple steps/screens used in the old version to mark the plan as complete/current.
  • Improved reports with greater detail and added graphic display options for output.

IU Emergency Management and Continuity is part of Public Safety and Institutional Assurance, which falls under the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO.

Cooking with cops

Campus police at IU Southeast are helping students with an imporant learning curve to help them eat healthier and reduce false fire alarms caused by burnt food.

Lt. Steve Miller’s Food with 5-0 program offers cooking classes to students living in IU Southeast lodges. Students not only learn tips on how to keep themselves from setting off fire alarms, but also how to prepare deliciously easy dishes that won’t break the bank. Miller is a 15-year veteran who enjoys sharing his culinary talents with those he protects and serves on an everyday basis.

Students leave the session with a new recipe, some helpful safety ideas, and a positive relationship with IUPD.

“The greatest benefit of the Food with 5-0 program is to get students to see IUPD as human and to interact with us in a non-traditional way,” said IUPD-Southeast Chief Charles Edelen.

IUPD and IU Public Safety is part of Public Safety and Institutional Assurance, which falls under the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO.

A letter to the IU Bloomington community from your police division

As captain of operations for IU Police Department Bloomington, Capt. Andy Stephenson is responsible for the patrol, investigations, training, and special events and programs divisions, as well as part-time officers and cadets, and auxiliary and security officers. As such, Stephenson supervises most of the individuals who have direct contact with members of the IU community, and he often can be found out and about on campus. These are Stephenson’s sentiments, but they match those of public safety leadership and university administration.

Dear IU students, faculty and staff:

With classes well underway and a flurry of events and activity occurring on the Bloomington campus, I want to take a moment to address concerns regarding police abuse of power and use of force, and the impact on our campus, that some of you have shared with me.

We have all witnessed controversial and, in some cases, unlawful police conduct in media reports. Likewise, some of you have, undoubtedly, had a personal experience that may have contributed to the forming of a negative viewpoint of not only a particular police officer but of all police officers. The men and women of the Indiana University Police Department share your concern. We acknowledge and recognize your fear.

Capt. Andy Stephenson

Capt. Andy Stephenson

Traditional policing philosophy, in which the primary mission is a reactive approach to the enforcement of laws, is ineffective in meeting the needs of communities and breeds negative contact with citizens. There is no doubt that the traditional police culture has helped to shape a climate of distrust between police and citizens, an “us versus them” world view by police, and an aura of suspicion in which all citizens are treated as though they are potential threats.

The IUPD has transitioned to a policing philosophy oriented toward customer service and positive interaction between police and citizens. We are updating our procedures on all campuses to reflect this and to align with best practices in the field. We are providing our officers with contemporary training on topics such as unbiased policing, de-escalation techniques, community relations, diversity, etc.

The IU Police Academy entrusts us with a unique and very important responsibility and enables us to make an even greater contribution to the future of policing in the United States. Our police academy graduates are IU students and future alumni who will work as police officers throughout the country. Our goal is to produce highly trained and educated, customer-service oriented officers who have been exposed to many different races and cultures and who can truly have a positive impact on the policing profession.

No matter your race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability or socioeconomic status, the IUPD serves every member of our community fairly, equally and without bias. Nothing less will be tolerated. Bias-based incidents should be reported to the IUPD and/or the Office of the Dean of Students.

Indiana University should be a safe haven where cultures from all over the world converge to live, share ideas and grow together. We must all come together to ensure that the rights of every member of our community are respected. We must work together to maintain an environment in which all students, faculty and staff can thrive in their pursuit of excellence. We must communicate with one another to solve problems so that we can prevent safety and crime issues from having a negative impact on our quality of life and the academic success of students.

We want to get to know you, and we invite you to get to know us. A vast majority of IUPD employees are IU alum who have a deep commitment to ensuring that those who call IU home have a world-class experience during their years on campus. We are a transparent organization. All are welcome to stop by the police department and take a tour, to schedule a ride-along with an officer, to explore our websites, to join us on Facebook or to simply take advantage of an opportunity to approach an officer and have a conversation. We offer seminars and presentations on a variety of topics, including active shooter response, self-defense for women, alcohol and drug abuse awareness, and many others. In addition, our police instructors can create a presentation to meet your needs for any safety-related subject.

Officers of the IUPD are always on duty to help protect you and serve your needs. We welcome new ideas and suggestions regarding ways we can better serve our community. We work for you. We are accountable to you. We are your police department.

Sincerely yours,

Andy Stephenson
Captain of operations
Indiana University Police Department Bloomington

IUPD and IU Public Safety is part of Public Safety and Institutional Assurance, which falls under the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO.

New student group, IU Public Safety Partners, meeting at IU Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington students interested in social justice, safety communication, or careers in fields of law enforcement, emergency & safety management or public health should stop by the call-out meeting Tuesday for IU Public Safety Partners, held at 6:30 p.m. at the IMU in State Room East.

iu-public-safety-partners_twitterThe group is new so there are leadership opportunities. The goal is to connect students with staff within Public Safety and Institutional Assurance who have expertise in the above areas. This includes IUPD, Emergency Management and Continuity, Environmental Health and Safety, PSIA communications and additional assistance from Bloomington Police and RPS, whose assistant director for diversity will be helping with the social justice discussion.

IUPD Operations Capt. Andy Stephenson is particularly interested in the students who want to participate in social justice discussions and events.

“Police around the country need to do a better job of engaging the citizens of the communities they serve,” he said. “Our hope is that this will strengthen and enhance the relationship between students and police, as well as increase safety and decrease the fear of crime on campus. It will give police an opportunity for transparency and allow students to voice any safety-related concerns they may have. The entire university community can benefit as we work together to solve problems.”

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Demonstrations, counter-demonstrations, IUPD: Rules of engagement

keepcalmprotestCollege campuses and demonstrations go together like peanut butter and jelly. The goal of the Indiana University Police Department is to keep demonstrators and counter-demonstrators safe and to keep disruptions to university business (classes, for example) to a minimum.

The following are prohibited:

  • Injuring, endangering or threatening people. This includes shoving, “fighting words” and intimidating behavior directed at an individual, such as standing nose to nose with someone while yelling or directing racial slurs at individuals as they pass.
  • Damaging property. This includes grabbing signs belonging to others.
  • Camping. Camping and setting up temporary structures is prohibited on all campuses.
  • Significantly disrupting university operations. Protesters may enter university buildings but not private offices, labs, studios or other areas not open to the general public — unless invited by someone who manages the space. When inside university buildings, protesters should not linger and must leave if asked by someone who manages the building. They should keep the noise down and avoid blocking normal pedestrian traffic.
  • Weapons. Guns, whether concealed or carried openly, knives and other weapons are prohibited on all IU campuses.

What can you expect from IUPD?

  • Safety. Officers will make every effort to keep demonstrators and counter demonstrators safe, even if you’re protesting police activity. Police can have a greater impact if included in the planning for your march or protest (contact your campus police division).
  • Reluctant use of force. Police will use pepper spray, a baton or other forms of force only when the physical safety of a person or police officer is immediately threatened. Such decisions should not be made by the individual officer if time permits but through the chain of command.
  • Off-campus response? If the protest moves off-campus or occurs near campus, IUPD officers will only respond if invited by the responding police agency and then they will respond as a group under the command of an IUPD officer and IUPD practices/procedures.
  • Restraint, self-discipline and neutrality. IUPD officers are trained to act professionally, to remain neutral and to avoid being provoked.
  • Step back. If you’re videotaping a police-civilian interaction, you may be asked to step back for safety purposes.

Consequences – even if provoked Read more…

Distractions and haste can make pedestrian crossings perilous

When you’re crossing streets and driving through campus, it’s not the time to zone out on devices or to music.

Pedestrian signal

Pedestrians should follow all crossing signs.

IU Police Department urges both pedestrians and drivers to pay attention and be patient when traveling throughout Indiana University’s campuses.

“Put down the phone; take off the headphones,” said IUPD Indianapolis Chief Bob True. “Smartphones and handheld electronic devices are a daily part of our lives, but they take your eyes off the road and distract your attention.”

Special pedestrian crossing lights have been installed on New York Street at IUPUI and will be installed at three locations on Michigan Street. At IU Bloomington in recent years, crossings have been made more visible and islands have been installed to slow traffic.

Police say it’s important for pedestrians to follow the directions on pedestrian crossing signs – when the hand is flashing red and when the number countdown is red, pedestrians should not begin crossing a street. Citations are rarely issued, but failing to cross at crosswalks or crossing against the traffic lights could result in a $150 citation.

More tips for a safe commute:

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IUPD leaders discuss Black Lives Matter, training, community relations and more

Many Indiana University Police Department officers are honoring the five officers killed in Dallas last week by wearing black mourning bands across their badges until the last of the five officers is laid to rest.

IUPD badge with a black mourning bandKilled by a lone sniper during a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally, the officers’ deaths followed two controversial shooting deaths of black men by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana. The deaths intensify already heated socioeconomic and cultural debates about systemic racism, poverty, police brutality, gun violence, domestic terrorism and other issues.

These issues are discussed and debated nationally and within our local communities. Here are some comments and observations shared by several IUPD leaders:

  • “Black lives do matter,” IUPD-Bloomington Chief Laury Flint wrote in a letter shared at a campus gathering. “IUPD officers have taken an oath to protect and serve, and we take that oath seriously. We value cultural diversity – it is one of the main reasons Indiana University is so unique and special. … No one should be afraid to walk with others or alone on or off campus, and we want everyone to be comfortable and confident enough to call 911 anytime there is concern.”
  • “Many police see the Black Lives Matter movement as ‘anti-policing,’ but it’s not,” said Wayne James, chief at IUPD-Northwest, in his hometown of Gary. “Some people in the movement may be. But the people who actually care, they aren’t radical; they just want you to hear them. Black Lives Matter members at the vigil on Sunday said they don’t want to see police killed. For people to show up on a Sunday at 6 p.m. in Gary – that is huge.”
  • “We cannot sink into an ‘us versus them’ mindset regarding our relationship with citizens,” IUPD-Bloomington Capt. Andy Stephenson wrote to his officers. His letter was shared with IUPD officers on all campuses. “We cannot allow these cowardly terrorists to accomplish their goal of increasing the divide between police officers and the citizens of our communities. Rather, we must unite, not only with one another, but with every citizen and organization in our communities to ensure that all are working together in unison to curb the violence, misunderstanding of the police role, and the distrust that some members of the community have of police officers.”
  • “The partnership between IUPD and the community is crucial,” Flint wrote. “In order for law enforcement to be truly effective, police agencies must have the active support and assistance of their citizens. We do not disregard high-profile incidents and allegations of police misconduct because they did not take place in Bloomington, and we want to maintain a safe community for all. This requires ongoing concerted effort, and I can assure you that IUPD is actively and continuously working on relationships in our community daily.”

The prospect of increased hostility or violence aimed at police makes a challenging occupation even more so. James said officers need to rely on their training, and police leaders need to make sure the necessary training is available. It is important to him, for example, that his officers have training in conflict de-escalation.

Stephenson wrote: “As I’ve said many times, traditional policing does not work and is ineffective in regard to satisfying the needs of our communities. We must be proactive, outgoing and positive in our policing philosophy and approach to daily activities on patrol.”

IU Public Safety is part of Public Safety and Institutional Assurance, which falls under the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO.