Las Vegas Sun

August 3, 2015

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Police debunk reported threats at Las Vegas schools

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Leila Navidi

In this November 2011 file photo, Clark County School District Police officer John Maier talks with students during lunch at Mojave High School in North Las Vegas. CCSD and Metro Police say they’ll continue an increased police presence in and around Clark County schools in the wake of last week’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Friday’s mass shootings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school continue to cause concerns in Clark County, where law enforcement authorities say they’ve investigated more than a dozen reports of threats involving local schools.

“So far, nothing has been substantiated,” Metro Police Capt. Tom Roberts told reporters at a Tuesday morning news conference. “They’ve all dead-ended.”

Metro and Clark County School District Police officials are asking parents — and the public at large — to be vigilant when they hear of or see a real threat involving a school.

But with “about 17” debunked reports of threats at schools in the past 24 to 48 hours, CCSD Police Chief James Katsas said, “Please do not participate in spreading rumors and perpetuating rumors. If you hear real information, please tell us. It’s very important you only pass along factual information.”

Metro and CCSD Police officers investigate school threats through the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, also known as the "fusion" center. The joint effort, coordinated through the School Violence Initiative, has been in place for about five years.

In the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, law enforcers in Clark County have placed an emphasis on being seen in and around public schools, and they’ll continue the plan through Friday, when schools let out for the Christmas break.

The Sandy Hook shootings have caused nationwide concern about school safety but authorities say the massacre also has spawned a plethora of rumors – spread even more quickly with the use of social media and the Internet – about school violence. Similar past incidents have produced similar concerns and rumors in Las Vegas schools, they added.

At Tuesday’s news conference, officials said their investigation into reports of school threats includes trying to determine the source of such threats.

Police had a strong message for anyone thinking about posting a threat.

“You will be prosecuted,” CCSD Police Lt. Ken Young said.

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