Bomb threat closes Williams Center through Thursday morning

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A bomb threat was found in a Williams Center bathroom Tuesday morning, causing University Police Services to evacuate and shut down the building for precautionary reasons.

University Police Chief Matt Kiederlen said the threat was found by a citizen who reported it to staff.

The plan is to have the building reopen at 6 a.m. Thursday. Kiederlen said they also received help from the UW-Madison Police Department, which provided an explosives detection canine.

The dog checked the building for any possible devices but nothing was found, Kiederlen said.

Kiederlen said there has been a lot that has happened over the dates of April 19 and April 20 in past years, such as the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, the Waco Branch Dividian tragedy and the Oklahoma City bombing.

“There’s a lot of things right in this little time frame that anyone could decide they want to do something to draw attention,” Kiederlen said. “Or, it could just be completely coincidence and somebody did this without even knowing that it was related to anything else.”

Kiederlen said there really isn’t a hard and fast protocol with these types of situations.

“You kind of go with some intuition, some experience,” Kiederlen said. ” You look at liability, you look at convenience factors; any number of things can come into play. The reality is maybe one out of 10,000 of these might be a legitimate threat where something actually would take place.”

However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution, Kiederlen said.

“There is no absolute set standard as to how to react,” Kiederlen said. “There’s basic precautions that are normally taken.”

Kiederlen said they will “absolutely” be searching for the person who wrote the threat.

This kind of brings to light the world that we live in now, Kiederlen said.

“If people see things that are suspicious, if there’s something out of place in your office, if there’s an item left somewhere that seems out of place … people should contact us and let us know,” Kiederlen said. “I’d rather investigate 10,000 of these that were false and turned out to be absolutely nothing than miss the one that turned out to be real and somebody gets hurt.”