The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


DPD responds to law school threat

Police explain procedures

In a statement released by Peter Schulte, SMU Student Bar Association President, last Friday, he expressed disappointment and concern for the Dallas Police Department’s failure to act on the alleged threat a law school student reported to them Friday, Jan. 7 at 9:51 p.m. Schulte said the university may never have known about the threat had the student who filed the report with Dallas Police Dept. not reported it to law school officials Monday afternoon.

“By failing to conduct an investigation early in this case, and by not providing information to the University until days after the alleged threat was reported, the Dallas Police Department potentially placed many of us in serious danger,” Schulte said in the statement.

When contacted yesterday afternoon, Sgt. Gil Cerda explained the police department’s procedure in handling its reports, in response to Schulte’s statement.

“We do understand the concerns of the students, but we have a process here,” Cerda said.

According to the police report, the law school student filed the complaint after leaving the bar where the alleged suspect mentioned his plans to kill “everyone in the law class that he and the complaintent were attending.” However, as Cerda pointed out, the report does not name a day, time, or specific location as to where the alleged suspect planned to carry out his threats.

“We had very general information just from reading the report,” Cerda said, emphasizing trust as the detrimental component in reports filed. “We trust that those who file the report give all the information they would want the police to have.”

But if someone ever is reported to be in “eminent danger,” the police take immediate action.

However, since no specific school or persons were identified in the report, it advanced to the second step of the report filing process, the supervisor’s desk. From there, the supervisor matched a detective with the case based on the report’s incident classification, titled “terroristic threats.”

The detective assigned, then made several attempts to contact the complaintent, said Cerda. That following Wednesday (Jan. 12), the detective learned that the complaintent had been hospitalized after taking an “unknown amount of alcohol and medications,” police said in a statement released by SMU on Wed., Jan. 12.

As Cerda explained, detectives contact complaintents to verify their original statement and to collect additional information.

“We’ve got to make sure before we start questioning a suspect, that we get a thorough report from our complaintent,” Cerda said.

Schulte claims that “a simple phone call” by the Dallas Police Department to SMU officials and/or campus police should have been made.

Schulte said his statement was not a direct attack against the Dallas Police Department, but a cry for surrounding police departments to establish strong connections with one another.

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