UPDATE: Police pull back uniformed officers from Sanford downtown campus after security threat
Fargo, ND - Police are investigating a security threat at Sanford Medical Center downtown after the hospital received a threatening call Friday morning warning of a “blast.”
The call was received by Sanford’s switchboard just after 10:30 a.m., with an unidentified individual making threats of violence, said Police Lt. Joel Vettel.
It’s not clear if the caller, who police are working to identify, was making a bomb threat, Vettel said.
“There was one mention of some sort of ‘blast,’ and again that can be construed in different ways,” he said. “Certainly we’re looking at this as possible situation where a bomb threat would be a similar type of situation.”
Security presence has been heightened across all Sanford campuses, but officials believe the threat was directed at the downtown campus specifically, said Paul Richard, president of Sanford Medical Center.
Officials are limiting access to the hospital to three points – a north side entrance, the west Broadway entrance into the Downtown Clinic, and the emergency room entrance.
Security will also be screening individuals before they are allowed to enter any of the buildings in the downtown campus, including the Same Day Surgery Center. Police officers are also stationed around the perimeter of the campus.
Richard said security personnel are also sweeping the hospital. Otherwise, he said it’s “business as usual” as much as possible.
“But as people come to the campuses, please expect that there are additional security procedures,” he said.
There are about 400 in-bed patients at the downtown hospital and over 2,000 staff members in the downtown campus, Richard said.
Police are still trying to assess the credibility of the threat, Vettel said.
“They were not as specific as oftentimes we’d see in more credible type of events, but again we’re still assessing the credibility of this event,” he said.
Vettel said at an 11:45 a.m. press conference that he expects the heightened security to last at least a couple of hours.
Check back later for an updates on this developing story.