ALBANY, Ore. — Police are reassuring the public that there is no public safety concern at Linn Benton Community College, despite the tip they received earlier this week about a possible shooting on campus.
Albany Police say a student contacted public safety officials at the college after overhearing three other students talking about planning a school shooting set for Friday. The college passed the case on to Albany Police, who deemed the report “vague” with “no details.” Police say the student who reported hearing the conversation was not able to identify the students, and their investigation led them to believe there was no public safety concern on campus.
Police say they take all threats seriously, so an officer remained on campus all day Friday as a precaution.
Dale Stowell, LBCC’s spokesperson, says safety is the college’s top priority, but there was not a reason to close the school on Friday.
“Law enforcement didn’t feel as though there was a significant threat,” he said. “We’re just playing it safe. Safety is a top concern at LBCC, so today we increased our internal security presence; Albany Police agreed to have a presence on our campus. We’re just not taking any chances.”
On Friday, the campus had its “Black Friday” event, which allowed all students to register for fall term classes. Stowell says despite the event, there were not more students on campus than usual because most students register for their classes online.
Despite the threats, students still attended classes on Friday – but that does not mean there was not a sense of unease across campus.
“It’s not normal,” said student Shirley Fallon. “We never have an Albany Police car parked out front on our lawn. It makes me a little nervous, yes.”
Other students agree.
“I’m nervous,” said student Laurie Freeman. “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach right now just thinking about it.”
But despite the unease, most students say the threat is not going to stop them from attending their classes.
“If the police are saying everything’s ok, then I don’t think it’s a very big deal,” said student Michelle Carper. “I think everything should be fine.”
Most students say they agree with Carper, saying they trust the judgement of the investigators.
“I figured if it was really serious, they would have shut the school down and wouldn’t have us attend,” Fallon said.
“I could understand being a little uncomfortable if there was more legitimacy behind it, but if the investigation is showing that there’s nothing valid about the threat, I’m not worried about it or uncomfortable,” said student Hunter Burge.
Others say even though they are a little bit nervous, it reassures them to know that the school and police increased security on campus.
“That makes me feel a lot safer,” said student Katie Bowen. “That they have already been doing something about it.”