PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Since the students of Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School ran for their lives last week and the reality of the tragedy emerged, concern-powered tips have been flooding in locally.
“We’ve seen a very large increase, obviously, in threat reporting as it relates to school shooting incidents and other active shooter incidents,” said FBI Pittsburgh Assistant Special Agent In Charge Chad Yarbrough.
“Obviously, there is more attention on schools with the recent activity in Florida,” added Ross Township Police Det. Brian Kohlhepp.
In the eyes of law enforcement, Agent Yarbrough says, “We obviously take all of those extremely seriously.”
So, other investigations are put on hold.
“We will make the man hours that are necessary to be able to investigate all these,” Det. Kohlhepp said.
Rarely is a school threat handled by a single law enforcement agency.
Case in point, the threat 28-year-old Bryan Flecken is charged with making against the Butler Area Schools started with a tip and investigation by the Bridgeville Police. South Fayette Township Police were then notified, enter the FBI, and the Butler Township Police where the schools are located.
“It is very taxing on the police department because we have to investigate all these,” Det. Kohlhepp said.
“If we don’t investigate it, obviously, we could see a tragic outcome,” Agent Yarbrough said.
So they encourage you to keep the reports coming.
“If your gut tells you to report it, you should report it,” Agent Yarbrough said.
“We have natural instincts which sometimes makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck stand up or a weird feeling in your stomach about a person or situations, we try to tell people trust those instincts,” Det. Kohlhepp said.
And there is no such thing as “just kidding.”
“That’s not going to work in this day and age and environment. We take everything seriously, and anyone who poses any kind of a threat we will mitigate it,” Agent Yarbrough said.