Expert explains how investigators handle bomb threats

Published: Apr. 19, 2016 at 9:00 PM EDT
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We're following up with threats made at two schools in Roanoke County on Monday. Police are still investigation both cases.

Doctor Tod Burke is a professor of criminal justice at Radford University and former police officer. He said the investigation process into a bomb threat depends on the location, but some organization have procedures in place to help identify the suspect. Burke said bomb threats like Monday's at Northside High School are more common today than they were in the past.

"It's frightening for the community," said Burke. "It's certainly frightening for the students, but it's one of the things you sort of deal with when you're in law enforcement."

When someone calls in a threat to any building, Burke said the person receiving the call has a vital role.

"One of things you want to do is keep the person on the phone as long as possible and if possible to record it,” said Burke.

After the threat is made, Burke said officials need to determine whether it is credible.

"Is the person who is one the phone giving specific information, date, time, and location? Is there a specific victim that's being notified,” said Burke.

That's when the organization can determine whether to evacuate the building. In most cases, Burke said finding who made the threat requires some technology and old fashioned police work.

"Through investigative means, through interviews, through telephone records, whether it be cell phones or other kinds of contact through people, asking questions,” said Burke.

He says there's a good chance the person making the threat may get caught with today's technology.

"Unfortunately in today's society, these things are common,” said Burke. “There are procedures in place and for the most part the police are doing an excellent job working with the community and working with the institution to keep the institution and the people safe."