UL Lafayette: Response to bomb threat was 'timely and effective' - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

UL Lafayette: Response to bomb threat was 'timely and effective'

Pepper, a German Shepard and explosives detection canine. (Source: University of Louisiana at Lafayette) Pepper, a German Shepard and explosives detection canine. (Source: University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Lafayette, LA (KPLC) - After evaluating the multi-agency response to two bomb threats last week, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette reports that operations were "timely and effective."

The bomb threats were called in to a local television station at about 5:30 a.m. on July 16. Federal, state, local and university officials all responded to the incident, which targeted the UL Lafayette campus and the adjacent Girard Park.

The university's emergency notification system sent text alerts regarding the incident to registered faculty, staff and students who were enrolled in summer classes. Although, some students reported that they never got the alert.

"By late Friday, we had received 15 notifications from students via email or Facebook that they did not receive the text alert," said Joey Pons, Associate Director of Public Safety at the university. "Upon examining their status, we found that none are enrolled in summer classes at the university... We recognize we have some students who live or work on campus, even though they are sitting out for a semester, especially during the summer."

Pons said the university is looking at ways to expand the list of recipients of its emergency notifications, even if some of the recipients don't meet enrollment criteria for the notifications. To sign up for the emergency notifications, click HERE. For more information on the alerts, email safetyman@louisiana.edu.

The university took several other safety measures, including door-to-door evacuations at residence halls, closures of access roads, sheltering in place and posting to the university's social media and emergency web site (universityupdates.com) with updates. Thanks to an exercise hosted by the university last summer, there were already plans in place for street closures and evacuation procedures, in case of an incident such as this.

"We were within a conventional timeframe of getting the initial message out for this type of incident," said Joey Sturm, Public Safety Director and Police Chief at UL Lafayette. "University police, with tremendous support from local and state first responders, were able to assess the threat quickly, evacuate the campus and close roads around the adjacent park and the university in a calm and controlled manner."

The university also credits their quick response to Pepper, an on-campus explosives detection canine. All told, 12 search teams, including nine explosives detection dogs were used to sweep the campus in search of the alleged bombs.

University police initiated the criminal investigation of the incident, which was then taken over by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office later that day. Other agencies who assisted in the investigation include: the Lafayette Police Department, the Lafayette City Marshal's Office, the Lafayette Consolidated Government Hazardous Materials Division, the Scott Police Department, Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office, the Baton Rouge Police Department, Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Police, the Fort Polk 50th Military Police Detachment (U.S. Army K-9 unit), the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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