Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson sat down with Rett Nelson of EastIdahoNews.com and gave an example of the concept of “Run. Hide. Fight.”
Johnson explained, “I sat down with my daughter and talked specifically about school shootings. You know, ‘What are you going to do?’
• The first thing you do is you get yourself away. Run away from there. Get as many people away as you can.
• If you can’t do that, hide. Make sure you hide where they are never going to find you.
• If they do find you, you don’t keep hiding, you fight with everything you’ve got because their purpose there is to kill as many people as possible.”
Fear in Idaho Falls community over a postcard brought the issue to the forefront of parents minds.
An incident this week over a "suspicious postcard” sparked concern and fear across the community this week and put the community on edge about the possibility of a school shooting. Some schools locked their front doors and requested police presence as a precaution.
The incident, which ended up being a political statement with no ill intent, began when parents were notified late Wednesday, February 28th by the Idaho Falls School District 91 via email of a "suspicious postcard" a D91 parent received in the mail.” School district officials wrote, “The postcard included a vague reference to a weapon at a school." Hundreds of concerned residents questioned whether they should send their children to school and some decided to keep their children at home as a precaution.
The postcard given to police by the local parent had a stock image of an assault rifle along with the phrase, “Coming to a school Near you?” Despite many media posts alleging the contrary, there were no safety incidents the following day at any local schools in Idaho Falls.
The incident serves as an example of how spreading information which may not be correct can have a significant negative impact on the community. It was compared to screaming “fire” in a crowded movie theater. “We hope that people will call police to verify a threat rather than posting it on social media, which becomes an additional problem.”
The department prioritized youth safety, communication with the public, schools and media, and used a strong sense of urgency in their investigation.
Thankfully, there were no incidents in this situation, but Chief Johnson stressed that it can help for kids to know what to do if there is ever a person with a gun in our schools.