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Kirkwood Alerts create confusion on C.R. campus

Classes canceled after report of domestic dispute

By Kirsten Kraklio
On February 24, 2012

A domestic dispute in Linn Hall on Thursday, Feb. 23, prompted bulletins that canceled and then uncanceled classes, creating confusion among students, faculty and staff at Kirkwood Community College.

A Kirkwood Alert sent out about 1:44 p.m. announced that classes were canceled on the main campus through the evening.  A follow-up Kirkwood Alert sent about 1:55 p.m. said the situation had been resolved and classes would resume at 2 p.m. By then, many students had already left campus.

Tom Kaldenberg, director of facilities, said that around 12:45 p.m. a dispute between two students who had a history together caused alarm.  A student claimed a "young man flashed what possibly was the butt of a gun," which prompted the student to contact help, he said.  

After the Cedar Rapids police were called in, the suspect's car could not be located. Two residences were searched, but police were unable to locate the man, resulting in the first alert being sent, Kaldenberg said.

He said his team was "erring to the side of safety" of students, faculty and staff.

The Iowa State Patrol located the man in Anamosa shortly after the first alert was sent out. Once Kirkwood received word he was in custody, classes resumed, Kaldenberg said.

Kaldenberg said no gun was found. 

On Friday afternoon, the following message regarding the incident was sent to faculty and staff on campus through an electronic newsletter called Tempo. 


We understand there may be some questions regarding the decision to activate the Kirkwood Alert system yesterday, and we would like to share additional information regarding the events and the response. 

Yesterday a report of an incident was received in Linn Hall. Campus Security and the Cedar Rapids Police Department were notified and responded immediately to a report that an individual possibly displayed a weapon to a student.

Although the information we had strongly suggested the individual of concern was not on campus, a number of steps were initiated to locate the individual and to protect the safety of the campus community. This included issuing an alert to cancel classes for the remainder of the day. We were initiating additional steps to protect the safety of those faculty, staff, and students who were on campus at that time. However, within moments of issuing the initial alert, the person of concern was located off-campus. The second alert was then issued to resume normal activities.

As we do in all cases like this, we are reviewing our emergency response protocols and procedures. While the dynamic nature of these situations makes decision-making challenging at times, we are committed to doing all that we can to maintain the safety of the community. Moving forward we would welcome and appreciate any feedback you may have about the process.

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