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FSU PD explains emergency notification policy after Monday's shelter-in-place alert

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 18:34:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A generic alert sent to the Florida State community left many wondering what was actually happening.

The alert has since been lifted and Florida State police shared why the alert was not more detailed.

Florida State Police sent the alert out through Seminole Safe app, telling people to shelter in place due to a dangerous situation.

Lt. John Baker with FSU Police says there’s a reason behind generic alerts.

“Priority number one is that the community is safe," said Baker.

While conducting a search warrant Monday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement notified FSU Police that a potentially armed man was headed in the direction of the university.

“We don’t really know where he went," Baker said. "He could’ve went north, he could’ve went west, he could have came towards campus. Out of abundance of caution, because of the firearm, we sent out the alert, a quick alert, for people to just stay in place.”

Many who received the text alert say it was very vague.

“I was trying to figure out why was he running around, what was the cause of it," said Kelvin Thompkins, a Tallahassee resident. "Other than that, I was trying to figure out what area he was in.”

“It’s important to inform us what is going on, because, especially right now with the whole pandemic going on, and the tropical storm," said Robert Calistri, a junior student at FSU. "You send a text out like that, people think, 'Oh, is it severe weather, is it something like that?' I think it’s important to be more descriptive about it than not.”

Lt. Baker says the generic alerts are used to get people's attention.

“We want folks to know that there is a potentially dangerous situation on campus," Baker said. "Me having to draft a message to send out to everybody may take too long. We want people to know right away and that’s why that generic message is sent out.”

The lieutenant adds they will not send an alert update on a situation if that situation has not changed.

Lt. Baker says if you would like to receive alerts for Florida State, just download the Seminole Safe app.