Bomb threats are a growing concern for the state and the Director of Public Safety says law enforcement is going to get serious about cracking down on them.
Public Safety Director Mark James doesn’t consider making a false bomb threat a very funny joke, "It’s not just a kid prank."
It’s a felony which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. And James wants it stopped. Sixty-five bomb threats were reported in Missouri in the past year, most threatened high schools. Nearly all were fake.
James says every bomb threat is taken seriously, especially by first responders, "They have to go with the mentality that it could be the real deal, because they can’t afford not to."
Even if a bomb threat is false, it poses a danger. James says emergency crews who respond to a threat can be hurt as they rush to the scene. Even occupants of the threatened building could get hurt fleeing.
The state expects the number of bomb threats to increase at this time of the year. James says that as the days get sunny and warmer, the number of fake bomb threats rises. He says some students think a fake bomb threat is their avenue to freedom, a way to cut the school day short. James wants that mentality to end.
James is encouraging law enforcement to find those who make fake bomb threats and prosecute them. He says pranksters need to learn that law enforcement doesn’t consider this a game.