ST. GEORGE – Over the last week, the law enforcement agencies in Kane County and the surrounding area have responded to several potential threats of violence against area schools.
In a joint press release Tuesday from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Kanab City Police Department, the agencies outlined incidents they and others had responded to between Feb. 22 and 26.
Last Thursday, the report of a student taking a gun to school was reported and subsequently investigated by the Fredonia Marshal’s Office and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona with support from Utah agencies.
As the investigation progressed, two juveniles were arrested over the weekend, in Mojave County, Arizona, and are alleged to have stolen four firearms from a Kanab resident, according to the press release. The two juveniles remain in police custody.
Law enforcement also responded to two incidents Monday.
The Kane County Sheriff’s Office responded to an anonymous tip of a possible threat to Kanab High School. The same day a tip was sent to the Valley High School in Orderville through the SafeUT tip line that a student may have been planning to bring a gun to the school.
City, county and state law enforcement agencies have since been requested to provide additional security to the schools in the face of what are construed to be possible threats.
“Aside from the added security, the Kanab Police Department and the Kane County Sheriff’s Office have initiated a joint investigation to determine who may be involved in making threats or may present a danger to our schools in anyway,” according to the joint press release.
Student safety is a primary concern of law enforcement and residents are asked to use caution when reacting to rumors of potential threats to local schools, police said.
All threats of violence against schools are taken seriously and are thoroughly investigated by the agencies involved and prosecuted if appropriate, the press release states.
Like other law enforcement agencies across the state and the country, those in Kane County also participate in training for responding to school shootings.
The Kanab City Police Department and Kane County Sheriff’s Office also ask that residents inventory and secure their firearms at all times.
Anyone who may have knowledge of the incidents described above is also asked to contact their local police agency.
“If you see something, say something,” the agencies said in Tuesday’s press release.
A wave of threats against schools has come in the wake the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 students and faculty dead.
Fox 13 News reported Monday that the Unified Police Department arrested a 13-year-old boy accused of making terroristic threats against students over social media.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, police in northern Utah have also investigated perceived and possible threats toward schools in American Fork, Springville and Heber.
While the instances were determined to be “jokes made in poor tastes” by students, they were nonetheless taken seriously by law enforcement, which resulted in the arrests of some of the students involved.
The Florida massacre has sparked both discussion of school safety on the state and national level as elected officials attempt find ways to address to prevent future school shootings.
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