Updated: noon Wednesday
The Greenfield Police Department have taken into custody a student they believe made a graffiti bomb threat against Greenfield High School.
On Tuesday, police officers responded to a call regarding graffiti in the 3200 block of West Mangold Avenue. Officers discovered graffiti written in marker on a garage stating “Greenfield High School blown up Dec 5-8,” according to Chief Brad Wentlandt.
After investigating the graffiti and conducting interviews, police and school officials determined that the graffiti was not a credible threat to the school.
Wentlandt, who said his department never considered closing or evacuating the school, would not divulge specific department tactics used in determining the credibility of Wednesday’s threat but said his department follows guidelines set forth by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, which help police departments across the country in situations such as this.
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“The more vague the threat, the less credible,” Wentlandt said. “The location of the threat, how the threat is communicated … You take graffiti on a garage several miles from the school, a non-specific threat, that’s not credible.”
Later Tuesday evening, however, rumors began circulating about the graffiti on social media and the possible threat at Greenfield High School. In response to concerns expressed by parents because of these social media rumors, the police department sent four uniformed officers and a sergeant to the high school Wednesday.
Wentlandt said they provided a visual presence to students and parents concerned with their safety.
“We weren’t there in any way, shape or form because we were concerned something was going to happen,” he said.
"That was our decision overnight after we saw the number and volume of messages and posts on social media, Facebook and Twitter, from parents and students. There were a lot of rumors out there that were not accurate."
Wednesday morning, investigators continued to monitor social media and investigate the source of the graffiti, before taking the suspect into custody at around 10:30 a.m. Police have not yet released the identiy of the suspect.
"The police department remains confident that there is no current credible threat to the school community," Wentlandt wrote in an email to news outlets Wednesday morning.
Greenfield High School principal Paul Thusius debunked the rumor that the school was on lockdown Wednesday morning.
"We did go into what we call a quiet containment for about an hour this morning, but we were not under a lockdown at all," Thusius said. "It’s just to keep the kids out of the hallways."
Superintendent Conrad Farner said the district will look at the appropriate steps in disciplining the student or students responsible for the threat, and said this was the first bomb threat the district has had in his six years as superintendent.
"They’re very rare," Farner said. "It’s a cry for some kind of help or there is some sort of issue there and the child has not learned how to deal with those issues appropriately."
Farner also praised the Greenfield Police Department for their vigilance and for making sure "everyone knew there was no issue."