Vanderburgh Co. Prosecutor on threats, looking at increasing intimidation felony

Published: Feb. 20, 2018 at 10:28 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 5:40 PM CST
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VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - Vanderburgh Co. Prosecutor Nick Hermann is speaking out about the threats going around against schools.

He says a person arrested for threatening a school faces an intimidation felony and six months to 2.5 years in jail.

However, Hermann says the level six felony is not enough under these circumstances. He has been talking with Sheriff Dave Wedding and local legislatures about how to increase the charges.

They are looking to see if state statutes can be changed to better reflect the severity of these threats. Hermann says he would like to see intimidation threats on schools increased to level five felonies.

Even though it is easy to post a sentence or two, the terror that follows is not a joke.

"This isn't funny,"  says Hermann. "This isn't some minor thing where you can sit behind your computer and post something. I know some times that's the intention of these people. They're not trying to be malicious. They're not trying to do something evil. They're not trying to terrorize people, but that's exactly what they're doing. You have parents that are scared to drop their kids off. You have kids that are worried about having to go through drills and different things."

Many of these threats are floating around on social media. Sometimes the same screen shot with a threatening message travels beyond the district it is intended to districts across the country because it is so general.

Hermann says it is time to hold people accountable.

"I think the parents of these children or these individuals if they're adults need to be responsible for the cost of the law enforcement response because you're talking thousands of dollars each time something like this happens," says Hermann. "I think it's time for us to start addressing that and to hold these people accountable when we can for their actions."

Hermann gives credit to the collaboration among law enforcement agencies. He says city, county, and federal units have been working hand in hand with the schools with a unified goal: keeping our kids safe.

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