Johnston Police Say Investigation Continues and No Threats Have Been Deemed Credible

Johnston Police (WHO-HD)

JOHNSTON, Iowa  —  Johnston Police say they are making progress in finding the source of threatening messages sent to parents and say none of those messages can be deemed credible.

 “As our investigation continues we are making progress in identifying the source of these threats,” said Johnston Police Chief Dennis McDaniel in a statement released Wednesday, “I want to reassure the Johnston community that our schools are safe. This investigation is now being treated as a cyber-crime and involves hackers preying upon our worst fears in a day and age where school violence has become all too real.”

All classes were canceled in Johnston on Tuesday after parents began receiving messages naming specific children and their schools and promising to harm them.  Police say none of those messages are credible threats.  However, they are increasing security on school grounds out of an abundance of caution.  All school facilities were searched and secured by police on Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday morning before classes resumed.

The Johnston Police Department says it is hearing of similar threatening messages being received by other school districts across the state.  They believe those messages could be copycat, hoaxes or possibly the work of the same group that targeted Johnston parents.  The Algona Community School District canceled classes on Wednesday in response to threats received by community members.

Johnston Police say they will continue with their increased security measures as long as they are necessary to ensure the public that schools are safe.

“We ask that members of the public continue to help us in our efforts by remaining calm, being observant, and reporting anything you believe may be relevant to our investigation,” the police department said in a news release, “If you “see something, say something.”