Cedar Rapids Police Respond To Kennedy High School Threats With Extra Patrols

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Cedar Rapids police are increasing their presence around the city's high schools this week in response to alleged threats made against one school.

Greg Buelow, the city's public safety communication's coordinator, said the police department has received a tip about a potential threat against Kennedy High School. In response, the police department is increasing it's presence around Kennedy and other high schools. Buelow did not specify what threats have been made.

"The police department obviously takes any threat seriously," Buelow said.

Buelow said the threats have thus far been unsubstantiated by investigators.

Superintendent Dr. Dave Benson said a threat assessment helps determine when to tell parents.

"If we think there's reasonable threat assessment quality, we will send out a parent notification, but we don't always," Dr. Benson explained.

Dr. Benson said social media is complicating that process. Dr. Benson said a message is often sent to parents to get out ahead of rumors. "We'd rather get out accurate information, than have social media take off with something and be propagating inaccurate information."

Charity Hansel, Kennedy's school resource officer, said that's changed how law enforcement and school districts respond to threats.

"The texting and the Tweeting and the posting," said Hansel, "that's what really grows what would be a simple threat, legs very quickly."

Dr. Benson said each response to a threat can cost the district time and money, if they have to bring in off-duty officers to increase security presence. In recent years, the district has also invested in electronic measures like card access readers at entrances, and digital security cameras.
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