On Wednesday, February 6, 2013, Detectives of the Hope Police Department in conjunction with UACCH Police identified the person of interest that attempted to enter the New Tech Building of the Hope High School Campus February 5 at approximately 10 AM.
Logical investigation conducted suggested no criminal act occurred nor was criminal intent believed to be present. Assistant Chief Tomlin stated, “It seems that the individual in question, who was from out of town, was scheduled to attend a workshop on the UACCH campus at 10 AM. He was not able to locate the College campus and stopped to obtain directions. UACCH Officers confirmed that this person attended the workshop.”
Officers with the Hope Police Department, Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department,
Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas Highway Police responded to the Hope High School area after witnesses reported that a non-student approached the door of the Tech Building and tried to open the locked door. Students who were in the hallway at the time the person attempted to gain entry, reported that the person had a gun in the waistband of his pants. The students reportedly went into the classroom and told a teacher about the incident. The teacher made contact with the suspect and the suspect then left the area walking south. Law enforcement officers swept all buildings on the High School Campus with negative results.
Officers then began to receive reports that the person may have entered a building
at the Canyon Creek Apartments, located at 303 West 23rd Street, in Hope. Law enforcement checked that area, with negative results.
Officers later received information that the suspect had possibly made comments
Inquiring about the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope campus.
UACCH was notified and campus officials put its campus on lock-down as a precaution.
Chief JR Wilson stated, “I want to thank the young people that observed this event and passed on information they genuinely believed to be accurate and occurring at the time. This is exactly what they should have done. Notifying Police early of potentially threatening events is very important. This affords police the best opportunity to conduct successful emergency response and prevent problems.”
“It is important that our young people understand that it is not atypical for human beings to misperceive events. Generally, Police can logically identify and weight misperception based on a careful analysis of all information predicated on a robust investigative process. The problem that arises in potentially serious rapidly evolving situations is that Police resources must first be dedicated to emergency response and a community care taking function whereby threats are abated as quickly as possible and systems are returned to normal function. Deployment of more sophisticated investigative techniques is a secondary priority occurring when control is accomplished and safety is ensured. Both statutory law and courts grant Police great latitude to ensure the safety of the public when a serious governmental interest is involved or perceived to be involved. I am very happy that all of our students are safe and that our systems operated in a professional and expeditious manner. I am very thankful to UACCH Police, HCSO, ASP, AHP, and other Law Enforcement Agencies that support us in bringing great resources to bear in a time of potential critical need. The safety of our children is of highest concern to us all.”
No charges are anticipated to be filed in this incident.