Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

DSU officials: Right call made during 'imminent threat'

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
News Dickinson,North Dakota 58602 http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/sites/all/themes/thedickinsonpress_theme/images/social_default_image.png
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
DSU officials: Right call made during 'imminent threat'
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

While authorities warned of a possible gunman on campus Friday, Dickinson State University leaders did not consider the situation an "imminent threat."

Advertisement
Advertisement

After learning a campus community member may have had a gun, university higher-ups determined it best to send students and staff to their resident halls and off-campus homes, even though it meant leaving them temporarily exposed in an area where there was a potential shooter.

"Yesterday, after consultation with law enforcement and conversation amongst team leaders of our emergency management response team, we determined it was most appropriate at that point in time to send faculty and staff and non-resident students home," Vice President for Student Development Hal Haynes said Saturday. "The institution made the right call."

Haynes added that the university initiated a Level 3 emergency response, which would require different tactics if there was an "active" or confirmed shooter.

"All we knew is that this person in our community was missing and they may have a weapon," he said. "The key word here is 'may.'"

Soon after the campus initiated an evacuation Friday, officials found the body of Doug LaPlante, 59, DSU dean of the college of education, business and applied sciences. The body was located north of the intersection of Seventh Avenue West and Sixth Street West in Memorial Park. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. After learning of the discovery, the university lifted the evacuation.

Haynes admitted there "was information to believe (someone on campus) had a weapon." But he maintains the university made the right call.

"I don't really think we could have done anything differently," he said.

Haynes also said students and faculty were notified of Friday's events through the school's NotiFind system, which sends information via text message and campus email, as well as to office homes and home phones.

He added that "roughly 60 percent" of the student population participates in the NotiFind system.

University President D.C. Coston said the measures taken Friday were necessary, but believes the university could not have been entirely prepared.

"Each situation is going to have its own unique set of circumstances," Coston said. "Until you're in the moment, there are no true dress rehearsals.

"Our foremost look has been about the safety of people at Dickinson State, including their frame of mind, as well as physical safety," Coston said. He added that "roughly 60 percent" of the student population participates in the NotiFind system.

University President D.C. Coston said the measures taken Friday were necessary, but believes the university could not have been entirely prepared.

"Each situation is going to have its own unique set of circumstances," Coston said. "Until you're in the moment, there are no true dress rehearsals.

"Our foremost look has been about the safety of people at Dickinson State, including their frame of mind, as well as physical safety," he added.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement