By Carly Thompson
Editor in Chief

The Feb. 12 threats to the Hutchinson Community College campus are still under investigation, so specifics to the case have not been released yet. As far as the investigation goes, authorities and staff are evaluating the information. 

Police Captain Dustin Loepp said that investigators will “exhaust all leads and resources during the follow up investigation.”

They will take a deep dive into the way the threat was communicated and information they gained during the threat. Loepp said that threats of this caliber do not get taken lightly. 

“Threats of violence such as bomb threats fall under the Criminal Threat statute,” Loepp said. “If the facility, such as the school, locks down or is evacuated, it rises to the level of aggravated

criminal threat which is a Severity Level 5 person felony.” 

Certain circumstances can raise the charge. If the officers would have found an explosive device, it could have escalated to attempted first degree murder and with additional factors, could be considered terrorism.

The college had a debriefing with the Hutchinson Police Department on Wednesday to discuss the case and its progress.

Sheldon Stewart, HutchCC’s Department 2 Co-Chair, who also has a law enforcement background, said the reason for a debriefing is to discuss things that went well and things that did not.

“Each entity needs to own their part of the situation – good, bad and ugly,” Stewart said. “The debrief is not meant to be a blame game, but a chance to get better for the next time … because it is not if it will happen again, but when it happens again.”

Being informed on how to handle situations like this can be crucial. Stewart recalls a quote by Louis Pasteur that says “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Stewart said he stresses the importance of preparing for these instances.

“These types of situations are very difficult because the actions we take are reactive … we are already at a disadvantage,” Stewart said.

Because the threat has already been planned out in advance, it is important to always try to be one step ahead. In order to even the playing field, it is important to take personal responsibility for one’s own safety and prepare for potentially dangerous circumstances.

In his law enforcement years, Stewart used to train by playing a game of “what if” where he would play out different situations in his mind and attempt to prepare himself for the worst case scenario.

Loepp advises following heavily researched national protocols and instructions from staff and authorities. It is also important, although easier said than done, to remain calm and avoid panicking.

“Some may see them as overboard or excessive but the safety of everyone is the No. 1 consideration,” Loepp said. 

Visits: 674

Share this story: