Dougherty Schools on elevated alert - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty Schools on elevated alert

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April 17, 2007

Albany-  As the country absorbs the Virginia Tech atrocity Tuesday, there was a school scare closer to home. An early morning threat was phoned into the Dougherty County jail and warned of possible shootings at four local schools. 

School officials placed the entire system on yellow alert and School Police got extra support today from the Sheriff's office and Albany Police.  

The caller warned of violence at four schools, Lincoln Magnet, Albany High, Lamar Reese and Magnolia Elementary. Law enforcement officers took it seriously.

"The individual we received the information from we consider him to be reliable.  It's unknown what his position is, we don't want to say he's a gang member, we don't know what his position is," said Lt. James Williams, Albany Police.

"There were some named locations where we had a special interest or focus on and in an attempt to ensure that we had a safe environment system wide we did make some additional changes," said Chief Troy Conley, Dougherty County Schools Police.

Those changes include adding extra Sheriff's patrols at the four targeted schools.

"Although we don't glorify what the gang members do or what the different gang organizations stand for we put proactive measures in place to ensure the safe environment," said Conley. 

The measures included putting all schools on yellow alert, that means, all school entrances except the main entrance were locked from the outside and school officials were stationed at the school's main entrances.

"We are watching visitors and people that come onto campus a little closer and that's just basic protocol, we have every concern so," said Conley.

"It's a shame that these kids trying to go to school trying to get an education, they don't know whether they're coming home or not, that's not right," said Sheriff Jamil Saba, Dougherty County.

Albany Police are looking into who started the rumors and if they catch them, will charge them with making terroristic threats. 

A yellow alert is the Dougherty County School systems second highest warning and what was issued today. The school system's highest alert is a red alert is only issued is when an event is ongoing. It would include a complete lock down of the schools and individual classrooms.

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