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‘Swat’ call sends Durango High School into ‘secure’ mode

Doors were locked while law enforcement investigated
Durango High School. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Durango High School was placed into a “secure” safety status Thursday after authorities received a phone call suggesting a threat to the high school, according to Durango Police Department.

The call came in about 10:10 a.m. and the threat was cleared at 11:07 a.m., said Deputy Chief Brice Current with DPD.

“We feel like it was a robocall,” he said.

The call affected another high school in Nevada, also named Durango High School, he said.

“The threat was determined to be a ‘swatting’ robocall that affected DHS and a school in Las Vegas,” Durango School District 9-R wrote in a notification addressed to students, staff members and families. “Swatting is the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.”

The nature of the threat suggested a student was possibly suffering from suicidal thoughts and might bring harm upon the school, Current said. The caller shared a specific first name of the student experiencing suicidal thoughts, he said.

The police department worked with school officials, the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office and the Durango Fire Protection District to secure the school’s perimeter.

Doors were immediately locked at the high school, and law enforcement performed a sweep around the area, according to the 9-R notification.

Police officers remained at the school during a passing hour about 11:07 a.m. as a precaution. School officials were on hand to help inform students why police officers were present, said Karla Sluis, spokeswoman for the school district.

“We want to make sure that we do a good job in messaging to our students and our staff so that they understand why there are officers in the hallway even though it was just a precaution,” she said.

During a so-called “secure” mode, students are trained to return to the inside of the building, doors are locked to prevent anyone from entering and school activities resume as normal inside the building.

“We take all threats seriously and appreciated the swift response of our staff, students and law enforcement during this incident,” the notification said.


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