App State Police rely on neighboring counties for bomb threats


Anna Muckenfuss , Appalachian Weekly News Producer

If Boone ever needed an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, the town would have to call upon law enforcement from several towns away.

Andy Stephenson, chief of the App State Police Department, said that because of Boone’s location, it could take a couple of hours for an EOD team to respond.

“It would depend on the type of resources we would need. In the past we have used Wilkes County and Gastonia police because they’re the closest,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said there are different protocols for how App State Police would respond to a threat on campus.

“We take all scenarios seriously,” Stephenson said. “Bombers do not make bomb threats. In the last 50 years in the United States there was one occurrence where a suspicious device was found after someone made a bomb threat.”

Stephenson said App State Police would respond to the location of a threat and walk around the property.

“It’s critical that we have someone who is familiar with the surroundings,” Stephenson said. “If we go into a building without someone who is familiar with it, we don’t know what is suspicious.”

Stephenson said in some places, such as the library or student union, if a suspicious package is found, the bomb squad may not be called in.

“If there are students studying everywhere and someone finds an unattended backpack, we aren’t going to call in the bomb squad for that, given the circumstances and the type of activity going on in the area,” Stephenson said.

If a threat was made and a suspicious package was found, Stephenson said police would evacuate the area and call bomb techs to the scene.

“We have contingency plans in place. There are endless scenarios,” Stephenson said. “We would get people to a safe, warm, dry place. We try to keep everyone safe.”

On Dec. 13 and Dec. 21, Boone Police responded to multiple claims of bombs and violence against several local businesses.

Boone Police could not be reached for comment on whether an EOD team was used in December or about its protocols for bomb threats.