Pranks use time and resources

Published 1:26 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019


The recent string of bomb threats made in and against Charlotte County Public Schools had county residents, particularly those that had school age children, on edge for days on end.

School administrators, faculty and staff were taxed to the limit by the upheaval each time a new threat was reported.

Additionally, local and state law enforcement responded in full force each time a threat was discovered and reported.

Investigator Johnny Wright, with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office, spoke with The Charlotte Gazette regarding the recent string of bomb threat responses.

“We have to respond full force each and every time we get a call, he said. We cannot respond to a call according to whether or not we think it might be a prank. It is not possible. We won’t take that chance. Along with that is the fact that we also have to call the Virginia State Police. They have to respond as well. Their Bomb Detection K-9 Unit is called in. A lot of resources are used every time we get a call like that.”

An official statement from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office further elaborated on the specific response and use of Charlotte county law enforcement resources when a bomb threat at a public school in the county is called in. “A bomb threat (response) typically involves at least one or more supervisors from the Sheriff’s office as well as a supervisor from the patrol staff. There are normally two or three resource officers that respond. There will customarily be at least two road officers that would be patrolling the county as part of their duties that respond. The school administrators and teachers then have to deal with moving students to other locations for safety purposes. This move is handled by walking students from one area to another and maybe even by moving students by bus from one location to another.

“The Sheriff’s office has to request the Virginia State Police for assistance with K-9 handlers to sweep the school.

“Most bomb threats take from three to five hours for at least eight officers to clear the scene. That’s 24 to 40 man-hours for just the police officers involved.
“This takes officers away from their daily duties as well as away from other normal calls and emergencies. This also takes school administrators and teachers away from teaching our students in a safe and orderly environment. Student’s school days become chaotic and scary.”

The statement from the Sheriff’s office went on to say that bomb threats have administrative punishment for the suspect from the school system as well as criminal punishment from law enforcement.