FAQ

UPD/Police Response

How can I get help immediately?

CALL OR TEXT 911 for help in an emergency.

Call 911 on any phone or press the word “emergency” on the locked screen of a mobile phone. 911 will dispatch police, fire and emergency medical service on and off Grounds.

Text 911: If you cannot call, you can text by entering “911” in the “to” field Provide your location and what services you need. You should receive an immediate reply; if you don’t, you need to call 911.

Use an Emergency Phone:  There are about 435 emergency phones throughout UVA Grounds and in surrounding neighborhoods. Phones on Grounds connect directly to the University Police Department, while phones off Grounds connect to the Emergency Communications Center (911 Center). To call for help, push the emergency button. You will be instantly connected to a dispatcher, with two-way communication. The dispatcher will know the exact location of the phone you activated. Even if you cannot speak into the phone, police will always respond to search the area for any activity.

What is the role and responsibilities of the University Police Department in safety and security?

Safety is the University Police Department’s (UPD) top priority. UPD is an internationally accredited police department, providing the same level of service offered by a municipal police department, as well as other services unique to an academic institution. The department operates 24 hours a day, each day of the year. The police department serves approximately 47,500 people on Grounds each day, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors both to our academic division and UVA health facilities. UPD consists of 170 employees, including 77 sworn police officers certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia and 64 unarmed community service officers. Through a third-party agreement with RMC events, University Police also oversees an Ambassador program to supplement public safety assets on and off Grounds.  Ambassadors are unarmed staff, certified by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, who patrol areas off Grounds where students live, shop, and socialize. Ambassadors maintain the Public Safety Substation on the Corner, which is open 24/7.

Why does UPD respond to 911 calls in some areas, but not others?

The University Police Department’s primary jurisdiction is UVA’s main Grounds. If an incident occurs within the jurisdiction of the City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County, the Charlottesville Police Department or Albemarle County Police will respond. UPD maintains a cooperative relationship with the Charlottesville and Albemarle County police departments and at times will assist in their response. 

Which police department conducts follow up for an incident?

The University Police Department conducts follow up for incidents in its jurisdiction, which is primarily UVA Grounds. While the University Police Department maintains a cooperative relationship with Charlottesville and Albemarle County Police, UPD does not control when and how they investigate crimes. If an incident occurred within the City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County jurisdiction, those police departments will conduct any follow-up.

 

 

Safety Initiatives

What is UPD doing to impact safety in the private residences and streets away from Grounds?

An existing Concurrent Jurisdiction Agreement by and between the City of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia expands the University Police Department’s jurisdiction to areas beyond Grounds, to include the Corner, Rugby Road, 14th Street, Madison Avenue, 10th Street, Wertland Street, and portions of Preston Avenue. In addition, UPD will routinely seek out and receive updates with regard to the city’s investigative and responsive efforts, and monitor those cases closest to our Grounds. UPD remains poised to partner with the Charlottesville Police Department with respect to investigations to the extent we can be helpful. 

 

In Fall 2021, UPD established the Community Oriented Policing Squad (COPS). This includes a new shift of four officers who work Wednesday through Saturday focusing on UPD’s joint patrol area such as the Corner. The goals of the COPS program is to build relationships, assist in the creation of a safe environment around Grounds, and provide for a more sustained police presence in the neighborhoods bordering Grounds where students live and gather with the community.

I will have a bike or scooter at UVA; how do I register it with UPD?

The University Police Department offers an easy online bicycle and scooter registration to students, faculty, and staff of the University at: https://uvapolice.virginia.edu/form/bicycle-scooter-registration-for. Once registered, you will receive a UPD decal via mail to be placed on your bicycle/scooter for further identification and deterrence. If your bicycle/scooter is stolen or lost, we will have all the necessary information for a police report and enter into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) computer systems.  

What kinds of safety resources are available to members of the UVA community?

Please see the Student Safety Guide and visit our safety resources pages for full sites dedicated to safety resources and information: https://uvapolice.virginia.edu/safety-security-resources/safety-tips and https://safetyandsecurity.virginia.edu/safety-reminders-and-resources

What is UPD doing to increase safety visibility on and around Grounds?

In addition to increasing our police presence, the University has contracted with RMC to operate the Ambassador program to enhance safety through high visibility and engagement with the community in the areas adjacent to Grounds. Ambassadors are easily identifiable by their neon yellow shirts. Upon request, Ambassadors provide escorted Safe Walks for students. The Ambassador program is managed by a third-party provider who works closely with our Department of Safety and Security and the University Police Department.

Ambassadors are not law enforcement officers, but they do serve as a force multiplier with the ability to effectively monitor areas that require additional attention and provide real time radio communication where law enforcement services are required. They also provide the University with a detailed accounting of highlights taken during the course of their shift.

What is UVA doing for residence hall security?

All residence halls are secured by electronic card access and or patented key systems.  Exterior doors are always locked except for University office doors that are unlocked during business hours. UVA unlocks exterior entrances only during official move-in hours each fall. In buildings that also contain classrooms, an ID card swipe is required to access the room. Residents of the building and their escorted guests, as well as authorized persons, access the building by utilizing either the electronic card access or patented key systems. Student room or apartment doors with electronic card access require a dual credential (PIN and card) to gain entry.  In new construction, a dual-credentialed system (PIN code and card access) controls access to student rooms, with older buildings being equipped with this style system as renovations to those areas proceed. All new and recently renovated buildings have electronic card access.  In traditional residence hall buildings with shared bathrooms, bathrooms are secured with electronic card access and require a card for access. In the Spring of 2022, the Safety and Security Technology group began a collaboration with Housing and Residence Life to provide security camera coverage in the area of first year residence housing. This program is expected to expand during the 2022-2023 academic year.

 

Survivor Support

How is UPD supporting survivors?

UVA and UPD participate in a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), and other local law enforcement to provide victims of sexual assault with a competent, consistent, sensitive and victim-centered response. Sergeant Ben Rexrode of the University Police Department provides support to students, faculty, and staff as needed. Sgt. Rexrode is UPD’s victim/witness advocate, and also the crime prevention supervisor. Sgt. Rexrode works closely with students, student groups in a variety of areas and often works with survivors on safety planning.

There are a number of confidential sources and "hotlines" for crisis counseling, both at the University and in the local community. Confidential counselors can provide trauma-informed support and offer information about reporting options. There are a variety of other resources available to survivors: 

Emergency/Crisis Resources (24/7):

Police

911

Sexual Assault Resource Agency

(434) 977-7273

Shelter for Help in Emergency

(434) 293-8509

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Emergency Line:

(434) 243-5150

Dean on Call (Call UVA Police and ask for the Dean on Call):

(434) 924-7166

UVA Emergency Department/Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners:

(434) 924-2231

Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline of Virginia:

(800) 838-8238

 

 

Ongoing Support from Confidential Resources at UVA:

Department of Student Health

(434) 924-5362

 

CAPS

(434) 243-5150

 

 

Medical Services

(434) 982-3915

 

 

Maxine Platzer Lynn Women's Center Counseling Services

(434) 982-2252

 

 

 

 

Ongoing Support (Non-Confidential) and Guidance, including academic and housing accommodations:

Office of the Dean of Students

(434) 924-7133

 

 

 

 

 

How is UPD working with the community on crime awareness and prevention?

The University Police Department has several employees whose positions are designed to encourage community outreach, awareness, and advocacy. Community members are encouraged to reach out to The Crime Prevention and Community Policing Unit, including Lieutenant Yong Bacon, Sgt. Ben Rexrode, and UPD’s Student and Community Engagement Coordinator, Dani Lawson. This unit is designed to build trust and relationships between the department and the community through many different types of events designed to facilitate dialogue and education.

The position of Diversity Officer was designed and implemented in 2020. As UPD’s first Diversity Officer, Cortney Hawkins is also a great resource for community engagement. Ms. Hawkins leads the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in support of the department’s overall efforts to serve the University and community. Ms. Hawkins also serves on UVA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and is a liaison with the community.

Does UVA provide safety planning to students, faculty, and staff if needed?

UVA’s Threat Assessment Team and/or the University Police Department will assist individuals directly affected by or at risk of ongoing safety issues with safety planning and accommodations. Accommodations may include but are not limited to; access to counseling services; adjustments to class or work schedules or locations; parking modifications; time off to attend legal proceedings; and/or temporary or permanent student housing changes.

 

Clery Act and Alerts

What is the Clery Act?

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal mandate requiring all institutions of higher education that participate in the federal student financial aid program to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities. The Clery Act promotes campus safety and transparency by ensuring that students, employees, parents, and the broader community are well-informed about important public safety and crime prevention matters. Non-compliance with the Clery Act may result in a Department of Education audit, a fine of $62,000+ per violation, and removal of the University from Title IV Federal Student Financial Aid process. Visit https://cleryact.virginia.edu/ for more information on the Clery Act.

What is an Emergency Notification? What are Community Alerts (Timely Warnings)?

UVA is required by federal law (the Clery Act) to issue Emergency Notifications and Community Alerts. Emergency notifications (called “UVA Alerts”) are intended to warn people of an imminent threat on Grounds and share immediate actions to take. The University is also required to issue safety notifications known as Community Alerts (which the Department of Education calls “Timely Warnings”) to notify the University community about crimes which have occurred and which pose a serious and ongoing threat to safety.

The purpose of a Community Alert is to notify University students, faculty, and staff of a serious and ongoing criminal incident and to provide information that may enable community members to better protect themselves from similar incidents. Here is a list of Community Alerts issued recently. In recent years, the Department of Safety and Security has made a conscious and deliberate effort to use our safety notification capability when serious incidents occur in those areas where our students reside outside of Grounds to ensure our community is aware of an event that has happened, and can make informed decisions about their safety.

Why are Community Alerts only required for incidents that occurred on Grounds?

The Clery Act federal law requires institutions to issue safety notifications (called “Community Alerts”) for certain incidents that occur in UVA’s “Clery geography” when there is an ongoing threat to the community. UVA’s Clery geography is considered all of on-Grounds properties and UVA’s owned and controlled properties used for educational purposes, it does not include privately owned properties off grounds such as off-grounds apartment building many students reside in. However, in certain circumstances, the Associate Vice President for Safety & Security and Chief of Police and/or the Assistant Vice President for Clery Compliance (or their designees) may choose to issue a Community Alert notification to inform the campus community of an incident that may constitute a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community even if the notification is not required and did not occur on Grounds.

What information is included in a Community Alert?

Under the Clery Act, we are required to include pertinent information in the notification that will enable members of the campus community to protect themselves and promote safety. The following information is typically included in a Community Alert (if available):

  • A statement of the incident, including the nature and severity of the threat and the persons or locations that might be affected
  • Any connection to a previous incident(s)
  • Physical description and/or composite drawing of the suspect
  • Date and time the alert was released
  • Other relevant and important information (e.g., gender of the victim, student/non-student, etc.)
  • Appropriate safety tips and resources

Please note that when issuing a Community Alert, some specific information may be withheld if there is a possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts to investigate and/or solve the crime.

Why is race included, or not included, in a suspect description?

A suspect description will be included when there is detailed and reliable information available. Information about race will only be included when it is provided by the reporter or obtained by other means and assists in the meaningful description of an individual. Distinctive information about individual physical attributes and clothing items are more beneficial for a suspect description than a vague description. Racial descriptions do not by themselves offer a meaningful description of a person’s appearance.

Why doesn’t UVA send a Community Alert (Timely Warning) every time a crime is reported to the police?

Under the Clery Act, UVA reviews each incident on a case-by-case basis. Institutions do not send a Community Alert for every crime reported to the police – instead, institutions are required to review each crime and determine whether it presents a serious and ongoing threat to the community. If you would like additional information on all the crimes reported to the University Police Department, see UPD’s Daily Crime Log, available on the UPD website.

How will I receive an Emergency Notification (UVA Alert)?

Emergency Notifications (UVA Alerts) are triggered by an emergency or dangerous situation that is currently occurring or immediately threatening the health/safety of students or employees who are on Grounds. UVA Alerts are distributed in several ways, depending on the situation and nature of the emergency. Distribution methods include:

  • Text message (faculty, staff and students who have added their mobile number to their UVA Alerts account)
  • Text to general public by texting “UVA” to 226787. Message and data rates may apply. Text messages are sent on an as-needed basis. This service is provided per the Terms of Use https://www.getrave.com/help/Terms.action and Privacy Policy  https://www.getrave.com/help/Privacy.action. Text STOP to 226787 to cancel or HELP for tech support.
  • Email to all current students, faculty, staff and UVA Health Team Members with an active “@virginia.edu” address (including foundation employees who have registered UVA email accounts)
  • UVA website homepage
  • UVA Emergency Management website
  • UPD website
  • Alertus Desktop Notification
  • LED and LCD signs on Grounds
  • Rave Guardian mobile safety app
  • Siren/ public address system
  • @UVA_EM, @UVAPolice, @HoosSafe on Twitter
Can families of students and non-UVA affiliated persons sign up for UVA Alerts?

Yes, opt-in via texting “UVA” to 226787. Message and data rates may apply. Text messages are sent on an as-needed basis. This service is provided per the Terms of Use https://www.getrave.com/help/Terms.action and Privacy Policy https://www.getrave.com/help/Privacy.action. Text STOP to 226787 to cancel or HELP for tech support.

Will I get an Emergency Notification (UVA Alert) alert if there is an active intruder incident?

Yes, UVA Alerts (emergency alerts) are sent immediately upon confirmation that a dangerous situation or emergency currently exists. Examples of situations that may necessitate a UVA Alert include:

  • armed intruder
  • gas leak
  • tornado
  • chemical/hazardous material spill
  • fire/explosion

 

 

 

If UVA is sending an alert, does this mean that UVA isn’t safe?

The purpose of an Emergency Notification and Community Alert is to tell the UVA community about potential and dangerous situations near our homes or workplaces so that we have both time and information necessary to take appropriate precautions. A safe community is an involved community.

 

Department of Safety and Security

What else is the University doing to address safety and security on and off Grounds?

The University of Virginia established the Department of Safety and Security (DSS) in 2018, which encompasses the offices of Clery Act Compliance and Youth Protection, Emergency Management, Safety and Security Technology, Threat Assessment, and the University Police Department. Collectively, these departments create a synergy that maximizes our opportunity to provide the University community with a safe environment conducive to the goals of education, research, and patient care. The Department of Safety and Security is overseen by Associate Vice President for Safety and Security, and Chief of Police, Timothy Longo. AVP/Chief Longo reports to the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer “JJ” Davis.

Does UVA have a threat assessment team?

Yes - UVA’s Threat Assessment Team’s (TAT) mission is to assess, manage, and mitigate identified threatening behavior by and against students, faculty, staff, employees, patients, and visitors or other non-affiliated individuals. The TAT executes its mission using a multidisciplinary approach to create a centralized coordinated process. The TAT believes that early recognition, intervention, and referral are critical to getting someone help and preventing violence before it occurs. Visit UVA’s Threat Assessment website for more information at https://threatassessment.virginia.edu/ 

What is Emergency Management?

UVA’s Office of Emergency Management facilitates preparedness activities, organizes and coordinates the University’s response and recovery efforts, and maintains mitigation strategies based on the hazards that make us most vulnerable. Visit https://uvaemergency.virginia.edu/ for more information about the Office of Emergency Management.

What is the Office of Youth Protection?

The Office of Youth Protection at UVA was established in 2019. The University is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for minors participating in University-sponsored activities and programs on University property and in University facilities or under the authority of the University at other locations. To safeguard these individuals and provide for their well-being and comply with applicable laws, the University has established minimum requirements for those who work with or interact with individuals under the age of 18. Visit https://youthprotection.virginia.edu/ for more information about the Office of Youth Protection at UVA.

What is the Office of Clery Compliance?

Requirements have been established to assist the University in complying with the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998,” (commonly referred to as the “Clery Act”).  The Office of Clery Compliance is responsible for ensuring that the University complies with the requirements of the Clery Act thereby facilitating compliance and increasing overall safety on and near Grounds. Visit https://cleryact.virginia.edu/ for more information about the Clery Act at UVA.

How is the University addressing active attacker threats?

Although incidents involving an active attacker on university campuses are rare, the impact on the individuals and communities affected cannot be overstated. DSS offers a 60-minute training to discuss what University Threat Assessment, Emergency Management, and Police are doing to prevent, prepare for and, if needed, respond to an active attacker event. Beginning in Fall 2022, Active Attacker trainings will be offered quarterly.  This training is free and open to all students and faculty and to staff in the Academic and Medical Division. Participants will learn about Emergency Notifications, how to report concerning behavior, and easy-to-remember options for people who are faced with a violent situation. To request more information or to schedule a training, please contact Sgt. Ben Rexrode at the University Police Department, br7u@virginia.edu.