Majority of Denver suspicious devices turn out to be nothing

29% spike in calls in the last five years
Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 21:11:39-04

DENVER -- Eagleton Elementary was placed on lockout during the latest bomb scare in Denver on Friday morning while the bomb squad investigated a suspicious device sitting on the hood of a car.

The suspicious box turned out to be nothing, but the Denver Police Department bomb squad is being called out to more of these types of calls than ever before.

"We get a lot of calls on unattended items," said Commander Patrick Phelan with DPD's Special Operations Division. "A backpack, a briefcase that's really so much out of place, but nobody's claiming it, it's been there for a while."

Earlier this week at the state Capitol, the bomb squad investigated another suspicious device that turned out to be a child's medical device.

"We encourage the public, the community to call us -- see something, say something," said Phelan.

And the community has. Since 2011, more than 4,000 people have called in a suspicious item or bomb threat.

Only 6 percent of those calls, or 288, were found to be legitimate. Three percent were identified as bomb threats.

"We're glad they don't turn out to be anything," said Phelan.

The commander said no matter what, police want to check out any potential threat.

"That's what we do, that's why we have the bomb K9's -- that's our job," said Phelan. "It's worth the expense." '

He also points to other situations where bombs were found and had to be denoted, like two years ago on the roof of a building on W. 29th Ave. in Denver.

Last year, at the Lakewood federal center, the bomb squad blew up a backpack that turned out to be a fake bomb. 

"If we have a problem, they're dangerous, fragments -- it causes concern for us," said Phelan.

The number of calls for suspicious items or bomb threats has also gone up every year.

In 2011, there were 529, compared to 736 last year -- a 29 percent increase.

"It's a credit to the community," said Phelan.

He also said to keep the calls coming.

"Please, please call us if you have any concerns," said Phelan. 


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