Bomb Threats Risking Resources?

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

November 3, 2005

When you call 911 in an emergency situation-- you're expecting a quick response-- but when dispatchers are responding to false alarms, you could wind up on hold in the midst of a sticky situation.

Callers may find themselves holding the phone as some of their neighbors are risking resources at the police department. Some neighbors are phoning first with several bomb threats.

"In this day and age when situations like that arise, and those kind of threats come about, we have to respond in a very certain and swift fashion," said Chief Tim Longo, of the Charlottesville Police Department.

The Chief of Charlottesville Police is talking about applying resources to handle bombs threats. Responding to a threat can be time-consuming and intense, but it's also necessary, especially at a school.

"It's a serious situation. A lot of resources are called to respond. Fire, police, school administrators, and steps are taken to safeguard and protect the children," added Chief Longo.

Recently, a bomb threat was made by students at Buford Middle School. Using several resources, Charlottesville Police evacuated the school.

"Officers on the scene took three students into custody. Two were later charged by petition for a making a bomb threat on a public building and school," said Chief Longo.

It was not the first time police responded to a bomb threat at Buford Middle. In fact, police have been to Buford Middle and Charlottesville High Schools more than five times for bomb threats, so far this year. Both are places of learning, but do students know they can't make a bomb threat, even if it just a prank?

"The Class Action Program through the State's Attorney General's office, which is taught both at the middle school and high school levels, talks about not only decision-making, but the various laws that affect the behavior of juveniles. So, yes, these issues are discussed," said the Chief.

Could peer-pressure be a cause?

"Of course, peer-pressure has to do a lot with it, but there are under-lying issues as well we need to get to the bottom to," said Dre Dreher, youth counselor in Charlottesville.

The youth counselor says getting to the bottom of the problem starts in the home. Parents should be involved in their kid's school, and know who he or she hangs out with. As for the students arrested, they've been released to their parents.

It's now up to the Commonwealth's Attorney's office to decide the punishment of the 12 and 15-year olds charged.

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