Our View: A bomb that could have been
Sheriff's Office response to potential bomb scare was justified. In fact, perhaps deputies should have gone a step further.
In some circles, the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office has been criticized for its response to a bomb scare June 15 at the Moffat County Courthouse.
Some have said the response – which included clearing the courthouse and bringing in a bomb squad from Grand Junction – was excessive, especially because what authorities feared was a bomb turned out to be someone’s lunch pail.
True, in retrospect, such a response could be considered over the top. However, the Editorial Board considered the response and believes it to be justified, given the circumstances of the incident, the need for heightened security at the courthouse and today’s unpredictable society.
The suspicious item in question was found outside the courthouse, unattended, on the same day a murder trial was slated to begin, in an era when danger can spring from even the most seemingly innocent of circumstances.
Also, this board, as well as many courthouse employees and others, have lobbied for years to enhance security measures at the county building, and this year county officials responded by adding two security guards to the third floor, where district and county court takes place.
It would be hypocritical to now condemn authorities for playing it safe, even when that meant going to an extreme to do so.
But the Editorial Board’s praise isn’t 100 percent supportive. If anything, board members contend, the Sheriff’s Office might not have taken enough steps to ensure safety.
Side streets around the courthouse were closed down, as they needed to be. However, traffic flowed as usual on U.S. Highway 40, passing by the courthouse.
The courthouse itself was emptied of its employees and visitors, also a wise move. But buildings within a baseball’s throw of the county building weren’t.
Had there been an explosion, and had that explosion packed enough punch behind it, cars passing by or people working at buildings nearby very well could have been injured.
Maybe the incident June 15 was valuable in that it gave authorities a game plan of what works and what doesn’t if such an incident happens again.
Overall, the board’s critiques, in the scope of things, are minor.
For now, the Editorial Board commends Sheriff Tim Jantz, his deputies and the response they orchestrated to the potential threat.
They didn’t save lives – the suspicious item was as harmless as it could have been – but they responded with the belief that they were, and when it comes to our law enforcement, we can’t ask for anything more.
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