Wayne State College Issues Security Alert
[updated 2-19-2008] 4:30 p.m.
WAYNE, Neb. (Feb. 19, 2008) -- Wayne Police Department and Nebraska State Patrol officers are continuing their investigation into the possible threat at Wayne State College. The message, which was etched onto the back of a toilet stall door in Pile Residence Hall, indicated that a “school shooting” would occur at the college on a future date.
Based on the advice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Behavioral Science Unit, college officials have chosen not to give the exact date. There is no indication at this time that the college should alter plans for that date. If new information develops, college officials will reassess the situation and plan accordingly.
From the outset of the investigation there was never any indication that anyone at the college was in immediate danger. The Wayne Police Department and Wayne State College have procedures in place to respond to threats to the campus; a higher level threat would result in a higher level of response.
Wayne State College’s Crisis Management Team met Sunday to discuss the incident and coordinate with law enforcement to develop a specific response plan that would protect students, staff and faculty and allow law enforcement personnel to pursue leads in the incident to identify the person or persons responsible for the threat. The message did not target anyone or any location on the campus.
“If a similar message had been received 10 years ago it would have been treated as a prank or a joke done in very bad taste, however, in today’s world all incidents of this type must be taken seriously,” Wayne Police Chief Lance Webster said.
Wayne State ’s Crisis Management Team has a range of communication options available to notify students, staff and faculty in the event of an emergency on campus. The MIR3 notification system, which transmits text messages and voice messages to the college community, was not used in this incident because of the low level of danger posed by the threatening message. The MIR3 system is designed to be used in situations where danger is immediate and imminent. When used, this system will clearly provide the campus community with the exact nature of the emergency and direct personnel regarding areas to avoid, evacuate or other actions to take given the circumstances.
Chief Webster consulted with a forensic clinical psychologist and contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation Behavioral Science Unit to discuss the nature of the possible threat on several occasions and relayed this advice to college officials to guide our response to the incident.
The City of Wayne, including Wayne State College, has a low overall crime rate, and a very low violent crime rate. There is no indication that Wayne State College is not safe for students, staff and faculty, contrary to rumors that may be circulating.
“Incidents like this can cause both a heightened sense of awareness and fear. A heightened sense of awareness is always positive, given the nature of our society. Bad things can happen anywhere in the United States but an aware citizenry is one of the best defenses against acts of violence,” Webster said.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call Wayne State College Security at 375-7216 or the Wayne Police Department at 375-2626.
[updated 2-18-2008] 3:30 p.m.
WAYNE, Neb. (Feb. 18, 2008) – Wayne Police Department and Nebraska State Patrol investigators are on campus conducting interviews as part of Wayne State’s continuing efforts to deal with the possible threat against the college community. The investigation is still ongoing and college officials are complying with law enforcement requests to limit disclosure of information.
The possible threat against the campus references a future date without naming a specific area or group on campus. This date does not appear to be linked to the college or specific college events.
The college will issue updates as new information develops.
[updated 2-18-2008] 10:08 a.m.
WAYNE, Neb. (Feb. 18, 2008) -- Wayne State College personnel on Feb. 17 discovered a possible threat aimed at the college community. College officials, Campus Security, the Wayne Police Department and Nebraska State Patrol have initiated an investigation of the possible threat.
At the request of law enforcement authorities, details of the possible threat are being withheld at this time in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation. Classes and other college events will continue as scheduled.
The College asks students, staff and faculty to be alert and immediately report any suspicious activity to WSC Security at Campus Ext. 7216 or the Wayne Police Department at 375-2626.
While the city of Wayne and Wayne State College have historically been safe environments, college officials and law enforcement officers are taking every precaution to assess the situation and maintain the safety and security of the campus and community.
Please direct all questions to Jay Collier, Director of College Relations, at 402-375-7325 or firstname.lastname@example.org