Public Safety & U — August

Right to left: Police Sergeant, Fernando Santiago, Associate Director of Fire and Emergency Services Madonna Calderoni and Director of Clery Compliance Moe DeLisi.
Right to left: Police Sergeant, Fernando Santiago, Associate Director of Fire and Emergency Services Madonna Calderoni and Director of Clery Compliance Moe DeLisi.

Communication is key to maintaining a safe and secure campus environment and is critical to the work Drexel Public Safety (DPS) does to protect and engage with the community all year round, including as we prepare for a successful start to the next academic year. Of course, for safety communication to be effective, it’s got to flow in both directions.

In this issue, get ready for a safe return to campus this fall by learning how DPS uses various modes of communication to keep you informed and how you can connect with DPS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plus: Get to know Interim Vice President and Chief of Police Bob Lis.

Interim Vice President Bob Lis (right) and his grandson, Jonathan Gowland, at his Philadelphia Fire Department graduation ceremony.

Get to Know DPS Interim VP Robert Lis

As announced last month, Bob Lis has assumed the role of interim vice president of public safety and chief of police. Bob has been with Drexel since 2005, and in addition to this interim role, he also supervises the Drexel University Police Department’s Investigations Unit. Before his work with the University, he spent almost 35 years in the Philadelphia Police Department in various roles, including patrol, plain clothes policing, juvenile aid and special victims, and 17 years in the Detective Bureau.

Bob’s personal message to the community is that he is happy to follow in the footsteps of Eileen Behr and that he values the relationships he has formed working with Drexel students, faculty, professional staff and community partners during his tenure at Drexel. In the coming months, Bob says he looks forward to both building upon those existing relationships and forging new ones.

Outside of Drexel, Bob enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, attending Philadelphia sporting events and exploring the city’s culinary scene on Friday nights. Recently, he had the pleasure of attending his grandson’s graduation from the Philadelphia Fire Department. 

3 Simple Ways to Prep for a Safe Fall Term

Last August, Public Safety & U shared “7 Ways to Get Ready for Fall Term,” and it’s still a great list of actions you can take (whether you’re on campus or not) to prepare for a safe start to the new academic year. For this issue, let’s take a deep dive into three simple things you can do right now to prepare for a successful and safe fall term.

1. Familiarize yourself with Drexel Public Safety’s services

Drexel Public Safety consists of administrative and operational units working around the clock to protect you on campus and provide safety tools and education to the Drexel community and surrounding neighborhoods. If you see DPS personnel on campus, be sure to stop and say hello! The department is made up of the following groups:

  • The Drexel Police Department is staffed by sworn Pennsylvania-certified police officers trained in many specialized services including first aid and CPR, investigations, crime prevention and community outreach. Drexel police officers conduct patrols by foot, vehicle and bicycle (view patrol boundary maps on the DPS website), and they maintain relationships with other local law enforcement agencies and neighboring communities. Drexel Police also provides victim support services to those who are victims of violent crime.
  • The Drexel Public Safety Communications Center is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week as a full-service safety and emergency dispatch center. Whether you are in an emergency, need to report suspicious activity, want to request a walking escort, or have any other safety concerns, dialing 215.895.2222 connects you to the Communications Center, where dispatchers will send help your way.
  • Allied Security Officers are contracted security personnel who patrol the University City, Center City and Queen Lane campuses via foot, bicycle and vehicle; provide fixed-post security in campus buildings and at events; and provide walking escort services. Allied security officers do not have the authority to make arrests.
  • The Fire and Emergency Services team works to ensure all Drexel University campuses maintain comprehensive fire and emergency preparedness practices. This unit also advises and mentors the Drexel EMS student organization.

2. Save this emergency number in your phone: 215.895.2222

One of the first things every new and returning Dragon should do is make sure you have saved Drexel Public Safety’s emergency phone number, 215.895.2222, to your mobile phone contacts list. This number connects you to the Drexel Public Safety Communications Center, where a dispatcher will answer and send help your way (you may also call 911 during any emergency). You can also call that number to request a walking escort. Calls placed on campus blue-light emergency telephones also immediately connect to the Communications Center, as do messages sent through the Drexel Guardian app.

3. Sign up for DrexelALERTs (or update your contact information)

DrexelALERT is an emergency notification system that provides fast dissemination of crime and safety alerts to Drexel students, faculty and professional staff via text messaging and email (see the next section for more details). DrexelALERT's effectiveness depends upon individuals providing accurate personal contact information. That’s why, at the start of each term, students, faculty and professional staff are asked to confirm and update their contact information when they log in to DrexelOne. Public Safety’s website has instructions on how to confirm or update your contact information. (Please note: New incoming students will begin to receive alerts approximately six weeks before the start of their first term.)

DPS Notification Guide: Why Am I Getting This Alert?

Public Safety Advisories, Crime Alerts (Timely Warnings), and Emergency Notifications (Alerts) are the three primary methods Drexel Public Safety uses to relay important safety information to the University community. Chances are you already receive these notifications, but maybe you’re not always sure why. To help demystify the process, DPS has put together a Community Notification Guide on its website explaining what each notification is, why it may be sent, and how.

QR code for the DPS Twitter account.

Follow @DrexelDPS on Twitter!

Follow Drexel Public Safety’s new Twitter account — @DrexelDPS — to get important safety tips and information on community events, to learn more about the department and its staff, and much more. 

Community Commitments

Learn How to Protect Yourself with DPS’ Educational Offerings

  • Your Safety Is Our Goal: Whether you’re new to Philadelphia or want to brush up on your situational preparedness skills, this virtual workshop is a great way to learn how to stay aware of your surroundings and always be prepared, not scared, when moving through the city. The program will be back with monthly scheduled sessions in the fall (look for details in next month’s newsletter). If you’re interested in organizing a workshop session for a group, please complete the Request a Presentation Form.
  • Self-Awareness for Everyone (SAFE): Public Safety’s self-protection program is currently scheduling sessions by request for either individuals or groups. To book a session, please contact Linda Moran at
  • Workplace Safety Program: The Public Safety & U workplace safety program highlights the importance of workplace safety through workshops and discussions designed to empower and educate members of the Drexel community. This program can be customized to the specific needs of an administrative or academic unit to address unique security challenges and identify solutions. If interested in organizing a workshop session, please complete the Request a Presentation Form.
A compilation of images from National Night Out, including members of DPS and the community hanging out on the University City Campus.

Dragons, Thank You for a Successful National Night Out!

On August 2, Drexel Police participated in their first National Night Out. Drexel EMS and over 100 community members stopped by to enjoy water ice, pretzels and conversation with our department.  We look forward to continuing to build upon these relationships and forge new ones. Thank you to all for your time, donations and kind words!

Important Reminders

We Are Here for You When You Need Us

Please call 215.895.2222 immediately if you experience or witness a crime. Drexel’s Public Safety Communications Center is staffed 24/7 to serve you, whether you choose to remain anonymous when making a report. It is vital that crimes are reported promptly to Drexel Police so that they can be investigated, and so that Public Safety can connect the victim(s) with proper resources.

Drexel Guardian is an app with a one-touch dialing feature to call for help or activate a GPS locator during an emergency, which allows the Drexel Communications Center to immediately locate and assist you. Drexel Guardian will not track you nor share your information unless you initiate an emergency. To download the app, search for “Rave Guardian” in the app store or Google Play store.


Emergency Numbers

215.895.2222 or 911 TTY: 215.571.4141

Walking Escorts 215.895.2222

To learn more about Drexel Public Safety, visit