WICHITA, Kansas – Law enforcement officials in Harvey County are frustrated that their resources that were stretched thin in tracking down the suspect who was responsible for multiple bomb threats in Newton Wednesday.
According to Newton police Lt. Bryan Hall, Harvey County dispatchers received a call around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday from a man who claimed he had planted bombs at a Dillons grocery store, the public library and the community corrections office. Authorities say the suspect provided a timeline for when the bombs would detonate.
Lt. Scott Powell says it’s frustrating when their resources are stretched thin when dealing with three bomb threats Wednesday.
“Our guys need to be out and being proactive and not sitting at a scene of a bomb threat for hours,” said Powel..
The threats required a lot of law enforcement officers in Harvey County to check them out.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said, “That’s a lot of manpower that’s being put out there, that has to be put out there.”
The sheriff’s office was put on standby to help out with calls in Newton since the Newton Police Department was tied up investigating the threats. In all, 14 members of the department were used in that investigation.
Other agencies that responded to the calls were the Newton Fire Department, EMS, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and one officer from the Wichita Police Department’s Bomb Squad.
The police department, in the midst of a request to the city for more officers, says these kind of calls are always serious drain.
“Even if we had full manpower, four extra officers, it still would have depleted everybody we had, no matter how many officers we had out. we would have needed to send multiple officers to each location,” Powell said.
Powell says the resources that are tied up with any bogus threat, keep officers from investigating other crimes.
“We would have been tied up no matter how many guys we had out,”
Police say each location was evacuated. Hall said a search was conducted once the time frame had elapsed. No explosive devices were found.
A man has been arrested for allegedly making bomb threats at three locations in Newton.
Authorities have not identified the suspect.
We reached out to Dillons, but they didn’t want to talk about how the evacuation impacted their business Wednesday.