Police respond to report of ‘suspicious man’ at Dixie State campus

Dixie State University Police cruiser, St. George, Utah, Dec. 7, 2018 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — There was a momentary scare on the Dixie State University campus Monday afternoon as students received text messages about a suspicious person on campus.

The Nisson Towers on the campus of Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Around 2:40 p.m., university students received texts from Dixie State Security advising of a “Suspicious male wearing (a) bullet proof vest (and) camouflage pants walking towards the center of campus from Nisson Towers.”

The message further encouraged students to contact St. George Police if they saw the man.

The man was initially spotted by a resident assistant at one of the housing complexes on campus, Chief Blair Barfuss of the DSU Department of Public Safety told St. George News.

Officers with campus security and St. George Police responded quickly and searched for the man while being tipped to his location by callers.

The man was soon identified and contacted by officers before being sent on his way.

It turned out he was wearing a vest that was a part of upper-body protective gear used by motorcyclists that could be mistaken for a bullet proof vest by those unfamiliar with such gear, Barfuss said.

The Nisson Towers and Brooks Store on the campus of Dixie State University , St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The man had some business on campus, Barfuss said, adding, “No crime was committed.”

University students received another text just prior to 3 p.m. stating that they could return to normal activities.

In all, Barfuss said about 12-14 police responded in force from the St. George Police Department and coordinated with campus security during the incident.

“We appreciate the collaborative approach and working relationship we have with the St. George PD,” Barfuss said.

Barfuss said he was pleased with how the response turned out, adding that he also sat down with university administrators following the incident to review how the situation was handled.

“We will continue to improve,” he said.

Dixie State released the following statement regarding the incident:

Dixie State University campus is secure and students are safe. Just after 2pm today, August 26, 2019, a DSU resident advisor noticed a suspicious male walking through campus wearing camouflage pants and what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest.

The employee called dispatch at 2:13 pm and campus police responded within one minute of the call. St. George Police arrived within 10 minutes to assist Dixie State University officers.

A series of messages went out to all campus students, faculty, and staff through the emergency alert system starting at 2:31 pm, to inform campus of the situation. Police located and questioned the individual around 2:40 pm in the Gardner Student Center. Police quickly determined the individual was wearing motorcycle gear, not a bullet-proof vest, and was not a threat to campus.

Thank you to St. George Police Department and Dixie State University Police for the rapid response and for keeping our campus and community safe.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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