A look at Boise State’s bomb threat procedures

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At any given educational institution in the United States, there is likely to be a procedure set in place specifically for the scenario of a bomb threat. According to the United States Bomb Data Center, schools received 49 percent—or 502 accounts—of recorded bomb threats in the nation during 2015. While 45 of the accounts were at colleges and universities, Boise State was not among them.

According to the Boise State Update archives, Boise State’s last incident involving a bomb threat was on April 12, 2013, when a “non-specific bomb threat” was received via phone call and, after investigation, deemed non-credible. For Boise State, when a situation like this happens, the University has procedures and protocols in place to keep campus safe.

Rob Littrell, emergency management and continuity of operations planner, is responsible for notifying Boise State when a bomb threat or any type of emergency happens. So if there were any type of threat on campus, Littrell would be the first one to find out and inform the campus community.

When dealing with a bomb threat, security advises students to do the same as if it was an active shooter. They want students and faculty to run, hide or take shelter. Littrell provided a checklist and video for any type of bomb threat on the Boise State campus security and police information webpage. The bomb threat protocol, however, is to be kept classified for safety reasons, as Littrell said it would be like “giving the playbook to the bad guy.”

According to Lt. Stan Niccolls, security guard for Boise State and former commander of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, security must address all the details they have before taking any action. If those details are serious enough to look into, they call people that are trained for these kind of situations. All threats are taken seriously—even the ones that turn out to not be true, such as a false bomb threat.

“It’s just like yelling ‘bomb!’ in a public place. It’s a serious offense,” Niccolls said.

In the case of a suspicious package, Niccolls said Campus Security evaluates the factors at hand to be sure how serious the threat is. Boise State has a bomb squad and bomb dogs to ensure safety during these procedures.

John Uda, assistant director of security and event management, says the odds of a bomb being planted and exploding on campus are low.

“It’s more likely for lightning to strike during a game than a bomb threat (to actually happen),” Uda said.

Uda went on to say if Boise State’s administration receives information about a threat, they have to determine what is credible and non-credible in order to take the appropriate actions. If the information they receive is ‘credible,’ then their next priority is to get people to safety as fast as possible.

Lastly, Uda said if a student sees something that’s not right, it’s important to call and inform someone. He also encourages students to be aware of their surroundings.  

“If you see something, say something,” Uda said.

According to Littrell, there will always be at least seven Boise police officers on campus, and he assured if Boise State students still don’t feel safe, they may call Boise State security at 208-426-6911.

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