Why UOPD did not alert students of a possible armed suspect near campus Sunday morning
Students were not alerted of a possible armed suspect in a pickup truck within a block of campus early Sunday morning. Although there was determined to be no threat after police arrived at the truck, some students wondered why there was no initial UO Alert text.
UOPD spokesman Kelly McIver said that alerts are not sent if police clear the situation immediately and the threat is subdued or if the credibility of the call is low.
On Sunday morning, around 1:50 a.m., an unknown person called the police to report the truck, UOPD and EPD “quickly stopped and surrounded the vehicle. Officers made contact with the vehicle and occupants, and it was quickly determined that there was no threat to the community,” McIver told The Emerald in an email.
However, The driver was arrested for DUII, according to McIver.
UO student Morgan Vauk was worried about why she didn’t receive an alert. Vauk said the incident has raised questions about the selection process. “This was directly next to campus and involved weapons,” Vauk said.
McIver told The Emerald that as soon as a call to the police is made regarding a threat, someone immediately begins the process of putting together an alert message. The message isn’t sent until the police decide the community should be alerted.
McIver said the level of danger and the validity of the report factor into the decision. Reports of active harm would mean a fast reaction to alert students, but a possible weapon would involve more investigating before an alert is sent. McIver said this is the case because they don’t want to prematurely report threats that don’t exist.
“We don’t want to erode confidence in the system,” he said.
There has not been an active shooter threat at UO in over 30 years according to McIver, but in cases like this, he said an alert can be sent within minutes.
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