County, Schools Form Task Force To Address Bomb Threats

April 22, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Prompted by recent bomb threats against county schools and criticism of how administrators have dealt with those threats, county police have formed a task force that will work with county agencies to set up a uniform policy for handling such incidents.

The Public and School Safety Task Force met for the first time last week -- at the same time bomb threats were being called in to Old Mill and Arundel Senior high schools.

The group -- consisting of representatives from the county and Annapolis police departments, County EMS/Fire/Rescue, the Annapolis Fire Department, the Board of Education and the state's attorney's office -- is scheduled to meet again today.

County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver and School Superintendent Carol S. Parham promised stiff penalties to anyone found making a false report.

"We need to investigate and prosecute those involved," Tolliver said in a statement released Saturday. "Only then will the message that this is unacceptable be fully understood. It is a serious situation and we intend to treat it as such."

Along with setting a policy about bomb threats, the task force will train school administrators -- those most likely to receive bomb threat calls -- on what to listen for and how to respond.

There have been six bomb scares at county schools this year, capped by an incident last month in which an explosive device was found at Arundel Senior High School during a visit by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

There were 78 bomb threats countywide last year and 80 in 1995.

"Each threat has to be taken seriously," said Lisa Ritter, the county executive's spokeswoman. "At the same time we have no intention of being held hostage."

Pub Date: 4/22/97

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