In the wake of a massive Connecticut school shooting last week, Las Vegas police agencies are reassuring parents about school safety and discouraging any rumormongers.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the Clark County School District Police have been bombarded with unsubstantiated rumors of violence on Friday, the last day of school before winter break.
The rumors are just that – rumors – and are not specific to a person or school, police said. But they’re spreading on social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
The agencies received at least 17 bogus versions of the rumor in the past few days, police said. All of the tips are assigned to a detective or an officer for vetting and can be a time-consuming waste of resources.
Police asked parents to report only concrete, firsthand information directly to police or school administrators. Posting gossip on Facebook needlessly spreads fear, CCSD Police Chief James Ketsaa said.
“Please do not take part or perpetuate in spreading rumors,” he said.
Las Vegas police Capt. Tom Roberts said there will be an increased police presence in schools Friday, but that is typical on the last day of classes before an extended break.
Nearly all the rumors have revolved around vague threats of a shooting at one of the schools, he said.
“It’s nothing specific,” he said. “So far nothing has been substantiated.”
Tracking threats of school violence at Clark County schools has been a police priority since 2008 when Palo Verde High School freshman Christopher Privett, 15, was gunned down by another teen in a drive-by shooting as he walked home from school.
After the shooting, police began monitoring threats at the Southern Nevada Counterterrorism Center, also known as a “fusion center,” initially developed by the federal government after 9/11 to combat terrorism.
But Las Vegas expanded the fusion center’s role and it’s now a one-stop shop for local agencies investigating, among other things, threats at schools.
Analysts staff a watch desk 24 hours a day to coordinate calls and follow up with officers.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.