Department of the Year Award
2016 National Finalist
The University of Texas at Tyler – Police Department
I would like to nominate the University of Texas at Tyler Police Department for its response and investigation to three separate threats to the University occurring on April 30, May 1, and June 17, 2015. On April 30, the University received an unspecified bomb threat, and on May 1, a second, more specific threat was received concerning a bomb in a backpack which required evacuation of two academic buildings on campus.
The UT Tyler Police Department notified the campus community through the University’s mass notification system and promptly evacuated both buildings. Officers then searched both buildings for suspicious devices. None being located, the buildings were reoccupied after the department gave the all clear through the mass notification system. While still investigating the bomb threats, on June 17, 2015, a handwritten note was found in one of the buildings that had been the subject of the bomb threat on May 1. The note detailed plans to pull fire alarms and to shoot people as they exited the buildings.
Through an exhaustive investigation, the UT Tyler Police Department was able to develop a suspect in the bomb threats, and were able to link the same suspect to the note found in the building on June 17th. Arrest warrants were obtained for the suspect. He was arrested without incident on July 3, 2015, and is currently awaiting trial.
This case was an excellent example of teamwork and the department putting all of its resources together to keep the campus community safe.
From the quick evacuation of the buildings utilizing the mass notification system, to the subsequent search of the buildings, to the comprehensive investigation which led to the apprehension of the suspect, members of the department worked tirelessly as a team to ensure the safety of the campus community and to prevent further threats to the campus community from the suspect.