Campus lockdowns cost cities tens of thousands of dollars - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Campus lockdowns cost cities tens of thousands of dollars

NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

The shoreline had back-to-back incidents where major universities had to be locked down.  Both incidents required huge numbers of police officers and now the bills are adding up.

An unidentified man called police on the morning of Nov. 25 and stated "his roommate" was in possession of a long gun and was on his way to Yale University. Following the emergency phone call, the Yale campus was placed in lockdown for several hours.

Police later determined that call was a hoax. They have a person in custody on unrelated charges. However, no arrests have been made at this time.

About a week later at University of New Haven in West Haven, a commuter student was arrested in connection with a shelter in place order at the University of New Haven after he was spotted with a gun on campus.

William Dong, 22, of Fairfield, faces multiple weapons charges after he was found on the UNH campus with one loaded handgun on his person and another inside his laptop case on Dec. 4.

Before he was taken into police custody, a 911 caller spotted Dong, who has a valid pistol permit for the two registered handguns, get out of his Toyota Rav4 with a long rifle at the Shop Rite and then "sprint toward" the nearby UNH campus. 

Because the response was so big in both incidents, both cities are seeing the huge bills. West Haven spent more than $12,000 in police overtime alone. And that total is not including the subsequent investigation.

The New Haven Police Department said they estimate they spent $30,000 in overtime costs.

"You have to respond and respond with as many people as you have available," said Officer Dave Hartman, spokesman for the New Haven Police Department. "There's no meter that runs in your mind when you're doing that and there shouldn't be."

New Haven officials said they will try to recoup the costs by cutting in other areas, but they  don't know where yet.

West Haven Mayor Edward M. O'Brien said these are costs that emergency officials have to be ready for.

Residents, who agree the bills have to be paid, said it's the cost of being safe these days.

"I think whatever they can do to keep it safe it's worth it," said Dana Flores of West Haven.

There have been cases where a city or town will go after the person responsible for the costs associated with the lockdowns, but that usually involves waiting until the criminal cases are complete.

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