How law enforcement decides when a threat is credible

The campus rocks of Kilcawly at YSU were vandalized with ISIS paintings.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Keeping the country safe after threats are made is a priority for intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

While investigators are looking into pro-terrorism messages made on YSU’s campus Monday, First News is looking into how they determined students on campus weren’t in any danger.

YSU Assistant Vice President of University Relations Shannon Tirone said that the YSU police department took the lead in investigating the case, in which messages like, “YSU supports ISIS” and “We are coming” were painted on the school’s famed campus rock Monday. Local FBI officials also became involved in the case.

After the Paris attacks, MercyHurst University Intelligence professor Orlandrew Danzell said everyone should be aware of their surroundings and that law enforcement has to take all threats seriously.

“They also have to sort of prioritize which are more highly likely to happen from those that are made, low level threats,” Danzell said.

A person’s ability to carry out an attack plays a huge role in determining if a threat is credible.

Danzell said in addition to background checks, social media accounts are checked after threats are made. Some people make threats just for attention.

“They post stuff just to draw attention, to see how many likes they would have and how many people would comment on their comment,” Danzell said.

Because of recent attacks, the country is stepping up with security for the holidays.

“They will have a lot more police officers at the Thanksgiving parade, see more signs of personnel at the airport,” Danzell said. “These are the sort of things that would happen when you have an elevation of the threat level.”

A person making a threat like this one, even without carrying it out, could face serious charges.

“Depending on which state you are in and depending on which federal jurisdiction, they basically decide prosecution on this issue,” Danzell said. “You can face more than you do for some cases of manslaughter.”

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