Law enforcement explain consequences of school threats

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — On Monday, March 29, 2021, Woodrow Wilson, Shady Spring, and Liberty High Schools all received bomb threats. Beckley Police, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Departments, and West Virginia State Police, along with Beckley Fire and JanCare, all arrived on scene.

Lt. Jason McDaniel with Beckley Police Department said they treat all of these calls as if there is a threat at the school because they do not know what is real and what is a hoax.

“That’s it, the not knowing,” McDaniel said. “It would be very easy to say ‘aww there’s never a bomb’ but you have to treat it as real, so they are treated as real.”

McDaniel said the bomb dogs found no evidence of a bomb at the school. Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Hatfield said someone can be charged with terroristic threat, which is a felony.

“The punishment for that is one to three years in the custody of the West Virginia Division of Corrections and a mandatory minimum fine of $5,000 and a maximum fine of $25,000,” Hatfield said. “Now if they go one step further and use an imitation substance or an imitation device as kind of a hoax, there is an enhancement for that, so it goes to a one to five year prison sentence and the fine will go $10,000 to $50,000.”

McDaniel wants to remind parents he understands they are worried during these situations, but their main goal is to keep all the students safe.

“If you let us control, it we will get your child back to you safely. It’s when the parents try to intervene that it causes issues,” McDaniel said.

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