More than an hour elapsed before alert sent out to evacuate UTEP campus on Tuesday
The University of Texas at El Paso campus was not evacuated for nearly an hour and a half after a bomb threat was received on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the UTEP Police incident report on the incident, a staff member received a bomb threat via telephone at the university library at 12:38 p.m. UTEP Police Chief Cliff Walsh said the evacuation of the campus went as planned once the campus was notified just before 2 p.m. through its emergency “Miner Alert” system of the anonymous threat.
Walsh released the following statement as to why the evacuation was done at the time it was.
“For situations like these, a threat assessment is initiated and information from a variety of sources is analyzed by UTEP Police in order to properly determine how credible the threat is,” said Walsh. “It is important that we conduct our due diligence in vetting the information at hand. If our department is able to validate or invalidate the credibility of a possible threat, then a determination is made on the best course of action."
UTEP's campus reopened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but buildings remained closed until Wednesday when staff returned.
UTEP Residence Life officials notified students living in campus housing units that they could return to their residence hall apartments via email shortly after 4 p.m. Those who left their vehicles on campus were notified via the University's main website, utep.edu, and UTEP social networking sites that they could retrieve them at 7 p.m.
All students are automatically registered to receive Miner Alerts when they register for classes. UTEP staff and faculty can also sign up for the emergency notification system by going to http://mineralert.utep.edu.
UTEP cancelled all of its Tuesday afternoon and evening activities as a result of the anonymous threat.
Walsh declined to detail the threat or say whether police had a suspect, citing their ongoing investigation. But he said the campus appeared to be safe.
Copyright 2012 KVIA. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.