In what proved to be the first necessary usage of the University of Miami’s emergency communication capabilities this academic year, students were left uninformed about an armed robbery that occurred just by the BankUnited Center last week.
The UM Police Department failed to send out an alert message via the Emergency Notification Network (ENN).
The ENN serves as the main line of communication between the university and the campus community regarding unfolding incidents and dangerous occurrences in the area.
“It was just human error,” UMPD Chief David Rivero said in an interview with The Miami Hurricane. “We should have sent out the ENN.”
According to Rivero, the patrol commander in charge of after-hours police operations around campus did not issue an alert via the ENN because of concerns that the university would attract unwanted media attention about the department’s response to the crime.
“Next time, the ENN will be activated and the word will get out and we won’t have any issues. The cops that were on the ground did everything perfect,” Rivero said. “We contained the area, we saturated the area, we conducted a thorough man hunt and we communicated well, we caught the bad guys and we got confessions.
“We just didn’t do the one thing we needed to do – which was to send out that ENN message.”
Frustrated students and parents voiced concerns to the police department over the university’s inability to release timely information about crimes around campus.
“I don’t feel like the response was good at all because I live in the apartment area and I didn’t hear about it,” junior Michaela Gaffley said. “But for friends who live in the residential colleges, and who are in the studio – they found out about it. But I didn’t know whether he had a gun, he had a knife, there was no network, no information given. I didn’t feel like it was safe.”
Still, Rivero has assured concerned students that the campus is the safest in Florida.
“Like President Donna Shalala has said, you can’t prevent all crimes. I wish I could have prevented that robbery from happening, but it’s just a crime of opportunity and sometimes they just happen on our campus or near our campus,” he said. “The main message is that we have a very safe campus.”