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UAPD reviewing alert system after shooting

Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 22:24:48-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - University of Arizona Police are reviewing the way they use UAlerts, the system they use to notify the campus community about issues near campus. 

The review comes after UAPD did not send an alert about a shooting near campus on Feb. 22. Chief Brian Seastone said they review their handling of every incident, but many students also expressed their concern and anger on social media about the lack of an alert.

"It terrified me just because I wish I would have gotten an alert right away rather than finding out after the fact," said freshman Kyana Robles, who found out about the shooting on Twitter. 

Chief Seastone said the shooting did not meet the criteria for an alert, which is "an immediate or ongoing threat to the University."

"There was not a good description of the suspect. We knew pretty much early on that it was a targeted and not more of a event that would go over to the campus area itself," said Seastone, adding that the suspects had fled away from campus.

Still, students on social media pointed out that UAlerts are used to notify them of power outages and gas leaks.

"Trivial things," said Robles. "We get alerts for other things but we couldn't get one right away saying to be careful and safe (in the case of the shooting)?"

Chief Seastone said they send out alerts for power outages and gas leaks because they have specific instructions for students and faculty, but in the case of the shooting, there was no information.

He said UAPD is "judicious" in choosing when they send alerts because they do not want people to start ignoring them if they get too many or to panic if it is not an emergency. 

"It was a judgment call," said Seastone of the decision not to send an alert about the shooting. "That's why we are looking at it, to say, 'Where do we draw the line?'"

Chief Seastone said UAPD is considering going to a tiered-system for alerts, where information would be sent out about incidents such as the shooting, but in a way that still separates them from alerts. 

UAPD welcomes input from students, faculty and the community. You can let them know what you think here.