This past week, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to what was perceived to be a threat at Davenport School of the Arts.
A woman had been taking her children to school, when she noticed two teen-aged boys dressed in all-black clothing near the campus and carrying what she thought were rifles.
She called 9-1-1 and deputies responded to the area.
The school was notified and children who were already on school property were rushed inside to safety. Children and parents were understandably worried as the school went into lockdown and the area was flooded with law enforcement officers.
The two suspicious boys were located and it turned out they had been shooting at targets on their property with BB guns.
The BB guns were designed in a way that they did look very similar to real rifles. One of them was even equipped with a scope on it.
There was no evidence the boys intended to incite panic, but target shooting near a school with realistic looking BB guns, while dressed in all-black (a reminder of the Columbine shooters) may not have been the best decision.
The 9-1-1 caller did the right thing.
She saw something and immediately said something. The deputies did a great job, and the response from many nearby law enforcement agencies and emergency crews was equally impressive.
Praise goes out to the school staff and 9-1-1 Center too.
The feedback we have received regarding our response has been overwhelmingly positive. As the old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Grady Judd is the Polk County Sheriff.