The Weber State University Police Department issued a Code Purple Alert on April 18 at 11:10 a.m. for an armed robbery that had occurred the night before.
“Armed Robbery A2 parking lot, April 17, 8 p.m.,” the message read, “Two men with gun demanded property.”
Carol Burdette, a sophomore studying criminal justice, was in the computer lab in the Shepherd Union when she received the Code Purple alert.
“I was confused because it was from last night,” said Burdette. “It was kind of pointless.”
WSUPD issued a follow-up alert at 11:26 p.m. “There is no current danger,” the second message read, “the robbery happened yesterday, the message was for awareness only.”
When Burdette read the follow-up message, she felt it was as useful as the initial message.
“It was last night — we can’t protect ourselves from something that happened last night,” said Burdette. “I thought it was — again — pointless.”
Allison Barlow Hess, WSU Communications Director, said the Code Purple was sent as an alert across campus.
“We wanted to campus community to know that an investigation and search is underway,” said Hess. “Safety and security are paramount; campus police are actively working with Ogden P.D.
Ben Story, textbook floor lead at the Wildcat Store, was worried when he received the Code Purple alert on his phone.
“At first, I was a little concerned,” he said. “And it was weird because it was coming way later than the actual event.”
Story took the precaution of alerting his coworkers in the Wildcat Store.
“I talked to our cashier manager and closed up the store and made sure our doors were locked.
Although the Code Purple message stated that the incident occurred on April 17, Story, along with others, believed there was an immediate threat on campus.
“The alert said there was a gunman on campus,” Story said. “Our procedure is to lock our doors and to keep anyone inside, inside.”
WSU Chief of Police Dane LeBlanc clarified the type of alert sent out.
“Per federal law, there are two types of alerts, a timely warning, which is a case-based, where police have a two-day, 48-hour time period to notify the community, and an emergency notification is where there is an imminent threat to campus.”
Students showed concern about whether or not they should have been informed before coming to campus, something which LeBlanc said couldn’t be addressed at the time.
“We were still investigating the case,” LeBlanc said. “If we perceive and imminent threat, we’ll send an imminent notification.”
According to the WSU Code Purple website, “Code Purple is an emergency notification system that gives Weber State University the ability to communicate health and safety emergency information quickly — by text, voice and email message.”
The suspects, who are still at large, are described as “two white males in their mid-20s wearing red shirts, white shirts, red hats and white bandanas around their necks,” according to the safety information release by campus police.