KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Crews were dispatched to South Charleston High School seconds after Metro 911 in Kanawha County received a hoax active shooter threat on Wednesday.
The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security said South Charleston High School was one of 19 schools across the state that received hoax threats relating to shootings or other violence on campuses across 17 counties in West Virginia.
Deputy Director of Metro 911 Rick McElhaney said, even though the call to Metro 911 was from out of state, dispatchers say they treat every single report seriously until they can confirm otherwise.
“In emergency services, in general, you confirm until you can’t confirm anymore,” he said. “There’s a lot of officers that we talk to all the time every day, but they have newer people, we have newer people, people sound different in an emergency.”
McElhaney said dispatchers train for active shooter calls and are ready to react calmly and swiftly.
“Every call is a little bit different and … how the caller tells us this information. A lot of it is on them, they go through a lot of training,” McElhaney said. “They’re trying to paint a picture for that responder and get all the information as quick as they can.”
Overall, McElhaney said he was happy with the response, but like any situation, he said it’s something they can learn from.
“To pick up a 911 call and to comprehend this call, comprehend the location, and comprehend what is going on, and quickly get this information in. We’re so proud of 23 seconds to get this information in and start processing it,” he said. “This is what we train for.”
WVDHS said they will continue to investigate each threat and will coordinate their response and investigation with local and federal authorities.