UNF finds issues with response to false report of person with gun

Mistake made by dispatcher, private vendor that sends alerts, UNF says

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Officials at the University of North Florida identified two issues during the emergency response that was triggered by the false report of a person with a gun on campus.

The threat was reported a week ago at the parking garage near the UNF Arena by a woman who had mental health problems, investigators said. Officers blocked off the garage and searched all of the parked vehicles before determining there was no threat.

Some students told News4Jax they didn't receive an alert during the lockdown, prompting concern. According to UNF spokesperson Sharon Ashton, a mistake was made by the campus police dispatcher.

"The dispatcher, in the heat of the moment, selected email to send out the communication when she should have sent out a text message and phone call," Ashton said.

RELATED: Police: Woman who reported seeing gun at UNF had mental issues

Ashton said there was also a technical error made by the private vendor the school uses to send out alerts.

"The private vendor that we use to send out alerts had problems sending out the 40,000 emails, and some people never even got the emails," Ashton said. "We had about 1,500 people who never got the emails."

The university said the indoor and outdoor PA system should also have been used to address students. Moving forward, the UNF police chief said additional training will be provided to its dispatchers. The police department might also add another dispatcher to its staff.

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