Published: Oct. 21, 2022

When a violent incident occurs on another university campus, it’s natural to wonder if the same thing could happen here. University of Colorado Boulder Police Chief Doreen Jokerst says CU Boulder takes all threats seriously. Here, she outlines how to best recognize and report behaviors of concern and explains how CUPD and the university can respond once authorities are made aware of threats.

On this page

How does CU Boulder take action to protect faculty and staff who feel uneasy, unsafe or threatened?

CUPD works with several campus partners depending on the protective action needed, and actions can vary depending on the situation. The recent tragedy at the University of Arizona highlights the critical importance of immediately reporting behaviors of concern.

The very nature of a public university allows students, employees and external community members to attend events and generally access campus property. We do everything we can, within the law, to deploy the appropriate tools and responses available to us.

One of the most important lines of defense is notifying police and CU Boulder’s Behavioral Intervention Team of any suspicious behavior, threats of harassment or other concerns. If you are not sure if what you’re experiencing is an actual threat, let the experts evaluate and decide. Call our non-emergency number, 303-492-6666, any time of day or night. CUPD is a full-service police department, open 24/7, and we respond to both non-emergency and 911 calls immediately.

All police agencies rely on cooperation from the communities they serve. While we are consistently and visibly engaged in many areas of campus, CUPD officers cannot be everywhere at once. As such, we rely on our community to notify us of any and all concerns. If faculty, staff, students or others see concerning behaviors, feel uneasy or sense a threat of danger from an individual or a situation, they should report it immediately by calling 911. 

Does CUPD offer active harmer response training to academic and administrative departments?

Yes. CUPD offers active harmer response classes to the campus community on a regular basis throughout the academic year. As a follow-up to this training, we can come to your office space and conduct a site security assessment. Through that, we can provide recommendations for enhancing workplace safety.

Our Emergency Management division can assist you in the creation or update of an all-hazards emergency action plan for your work space. This will include evacuation plans, shelter-in-place plans and how to maintain continuity of operations. The Emergency Management team can provide you with a tabletop exercise to test your emergency action plan, be sure it's functional and is understood by your staff. 

If your work team is interested in starting these classes, or if you would like more information, email emergency.management@colorado.edu.

Are there any protective measures faculty and staff can take in classrooms on campus? 

Yes. CUPD, in collaboration with Facilities Management, is engaged in a comprehensive campus security project that will use $3.4 million in state-controlled maintenance funding to improve classroom security in the event of a future active harmer or other mass-casualty incident. 

Phase one of the project, currently underway, includes a door lock project to install thumb-turn door locks in classrooms. In addition, auditorium-style classrooms will be outfitted with electrified hardware to lock down spaces with the push of a button. Work on approximately 280 classrooms and one “test” auditorium will launch this fall semester and should be completed by February 2023.  

Phase two of the project includes the installation of electrified hardware in 29 auditorium-style classrooms of more than 100 seats, plus the installation of new card readers in 86 classrooms with existing swipe systems. Card readers will be added to multiple classrooms without this security option. In addition, signs with clear emergency instructions will be installed inside and outside of classroom doors, and external signage will be installed on buildings to help first responders. This phase is slated for summer 2023. In all, some 400 classrooms and 50 buildings will receive various security upgrades. 

Does CU Boulder have protocols for dealing with threats?  

Yes. There are two basic approaches in how we deal with concerning and threatening behaviors.

Exclusions

These are issued by CUPD to exclude someone from a specific location or campus property depending on the crime committed and the presence of a continued risk to the campus community. These are reviewed by executive leadership to determine the length and breadth of the exclusion.

Threat assessment and behavioral intervention

Student Support and Case Management staff determine appropriate intervention measures for students who display concerning or threatening behaviors. 

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program conducts assessments of employees who display concerning or threatening behaviors and determines intervention measures that may be needed, including offering employees assistance and notifying appropriate campus authorities of safety concerns. 

Police Chief Doreen Jokerst

Police Chief Doreen Jokerst

Are protection orders an option? 

Anyone can request a protection order; however, CU Boulder cannot issue protection orders—they are issued through the court system. There are two types of protection orders, criminal and civil. Criminal protection orders occur as a result of an arrest, including for violation of a protection order. Civil protection orders can be sought by an individual to prevent stalking, physical assault, sexual assault, bodily harm, domestic violence, emotional abuse, and elder- and at-risk-adult abuse.

How does CU Boulder identify and address students of concern?

Any faculty or staff member can refer a student who is displaying signs of distress to Student Support & Case Management (SSCM). SSCM case managers can provide individualized support to students and are professionally trained to ensure the safety and well-being of both the student and the CU community. When consultation around additional resources and threat assessment is needed, SSCM presents the concern to the Students of Concern Team, a committee chaired by the dean of students.

A student in distress may be acting withdrawn, depressed or anxious, or exhibiting aggressive, destructive or disruptive behaviors. For more information on recognizing a student in distress and referring them to resources, find guidance in the CU Red Folder. As always, if a threat is imminent, call CUPD or 911 immediately. 

There are three ways to refer a student to SSCM:

In the process of identifying possible threats, how will CUPD avoid profiling and targeting people of color? 

We acknowledge there are populations of people who harbor mistrust in law enforcement, and that such mistrust is warranted due to recent and historical events and practices that shaped those fears and anxieties. CUPD is a progressive, forward-thinking organization seeking out the best training and professional development opportunities for its members. We are focused on continual improvement as a department.

We are currently taking the following steps to ensure all campus community members feel seen and heard, as well as to guard against racial profiling and unfair practices of any kind against communities of color:

We welcome feedback on our engagement with the campus community. Anyone who has complaints or concerns can report them on the CUPD website. You may also contact CU Boulder’s Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127 or cureport@colorado.edu or the CU Police Department internal affairs section at 303-492-6666. 

Where to report students, employees

Do faculty and staff have access to any personal safety devices or apps? 

Yes. All of our students, faculty and staff can download the Guardian Mobile Safety App. The Guardian app features tools like a safety timer, so friends can monitor you if you’re walking alone and call for help if you don’t reach your destination at the expected time. You can download the Guardian App for free at app stores or Google Play. 

In addition, CU NightRide is a student-operated program dedicated to meeting the safety needs of CU students, faculty and staff by providing night-time transportation to support a safe academic and socially responsible environment both on campus and in the community. CU NightRide is free for CU students, faculty and staff.

The CU NightRide hours this semester:

  • 7 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday
  • 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday through Saturday

Where can faculty and staff find the most up-to-date information on emergency alerts and other safety tips?

Please visit our redesigned alerts website, which clearly outlines CU Boulder’s three levels of notification: CU Emergency Alert, CU Safety Alert and the newest tier, CU Advisory. You can also watch a series of videos explaining how, when and why we send out each type of alert and get more campus safety tips on the CUPD website.

In an emergency, call or text 911. In non-emergency situations, contact CUPD at 303-492-6666. Not sure if a situation is or is not an emergency? CUPD dispatchers are trained to determine the level of response that is needed. CUPD also accepts anonymous reports

The safety of our entire campus community is our top priority, and we encourage anyone who feels uneasy to contact us immediately.