Hint of danger prompts extra security at Wake Tech library

mquillin@newsobserver.comMay 1, 2014 

— Wake Technical Community College Police shut down the main campus library on Wednesday, the last day of spring semester classes, in response to a vague threat that something might happen there.

The library reopened Wednesday afternoon after a sweep of the building found nothing dangerous, but campus police officers will continue to monitor those coming into the building through Friday as a precaution.

Campus police Chief Michael Penry said someone left an anonymous note on another part of campus last week that “referenced something suspicious that might happen” in the Howell Library on April 30. While the nature of the danger was not specified in the note, Penry said, the date and location were.

Starting Tuesday, Penry posted officers at the entry of the library. Students, staff and instructors had to pass through a metal detector borrowed from a local police department, and officers checked the bags of those coming in.

Raleigh police helped search the building, which houses more than 85,000 books and is used by more than 14,000 people a week, some of whom attend classes there. Classes scheduled to be held in the building on Wednesday were relocated.

Wake Tech has had its own police force for only two years, but Penry said this was the first time it has received advance warning that someone might be planning to commit a criminal act on campus. He said a few people may have been bothered by the security measures, but said, “I would much rather say, ‘Sorry we inconvenienced you,’ rather than having to explain why we didn’t take every precaution we could have.”

Other college campuses have dealt with more specific threats in the past. In December, a caller told police there was a bomb in a restroom at D.H. Hill Library at N.C. State University. The building was evacuated. A search turned up nothing.

Quillin: 919-829-8989

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