As some of you saw on campus last night, there was a large police presence in a parking lot near the Euclid Autopark and Wardenburg Health Center. CU Police received a report of a suspicious device and, in an abundance of caution, we called in the Boulder County Hazardous Device Response Team (Bomb Squad) to investigate further.
We quickly cordoned off Parking Lot 204, 18th Street and Euclid Avenue with caution tape and started posting social media messages requesting that people avoid the area. The Bomb Squad later determined that the device was a bottle that contained harmless liquid inside. We are continuing our investigation to determine the contents of the device and why wires were near it.
Some people have asked: Why didn’t you send out a text message alert to all students, faculty and staff with details? We’re required by federal law to send emergency notifications when police confirm “an ongoing significant emergency or dangerous situation that poses an imminent threat to the safety of campus community members,” according to our policy, which you can read here.
Given the size and location of the device, we were able to establish a safe perimeter by closing the parking lot and adjacent streets. This allowed the Bomb Squad to assess the device without threat to the public. Nonetheless, we informed the community through other messaging platforms, including our social media channels and by providing information to local media.
While we are thankful that last night ended without incident, it serves as an opportune reminder that we all need to be good bystanders. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has an effective messaging campaign titled “If You See Something, Say Something.” Whether you are at an airport or right here on campus, if you see suspicious activity, call the appropriate law enforcement agency. And we’ll take it from there. But it starts with you being an effective bystander.