A bomb threat is not a common occurrence in Newton, though they do happen and there is a history of them in the community. 

Each one ties up the resources of law enforcement, as they are taken seriously — though finding a bomb is pretty rare. 

"There was a device, in 2014, at community corrections," said Eric Murphy, chief of police for Newton.

The recent history reads as follows: March 8, a bomb threat at the YMCA. Nothing was found. March 7, a bomb threat at Walmart. Nothing was found. Oct. 1, 2015, a bomb threat against three locations. Nothing was found. In September of 2014 an improvised IED was found at community corrections. Days later, a grenade wired to scrap metal was found at Southeast Second and Ash.

A threat on the Interstate in 2013 came up empty. 

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It is that one time when a device was found at Community Corrections on East Sixth Street that gives law enforcement indigestion. 

"The threat of a bomb in a building has great potential for danger," Murphy said. "If there is a bomb, it reaches out quite a ways. The impact of it, depending on the size of the explosive, can create a lot of damage and injuries. Our approach is we do our best to eliminate some of that potential for damage and injury to individuals. That is why we prefer for a business to evacuate and get people out of harm's way."

The most recent threat, a note left in the bathroom at the YMCA, was handled exactly as it should have been. The building was evacuated, and 911 called. Police responded, sealed off the building and started looking for a device.

That response was expensive. According to Murphy, the department incurred $380 in overtime, and a total of $1,200 in wages paid to officers to investigate the incident. In addition, the Kansas Highway Patrol responded with three bomb dogs, and sheriff's deputies responded to the scene as well. That threat happened during a shift change, so officers and investigators extended their work day and the normal patrols were performed by the second shift. 

That is not always the case. During the Walmart threat just the day before, Newton Police brought all officers on shift to the scene — including pulling school resource officers out of the schools to respond. The county sheriff's department was called to cover patrol and high priority calls within the city. 

"Our officers are out there, and cannot be doing other things," Murphy said. " ... That does not mention the toll that it takes on the officers responding to this type of an incident with higher stress level and the officers that were not able to go home to their families and take care of their activities that they would through their normal life."

If Newton Police finds a bomb, like they did in 2015, they do not disarm or dispose of it. They call a trained bomb unit from Wichita.

"We call a specialist with the bomb squad," Murphy said. "There is a regional team that responds here. .... We don't know what may trigger an potential bomb. Depending on how it is made, it could be a cell phone that can detonate it. It could be someone moving a package. ... When you have individuals in a building with a potential explosive device, we don't know the triggering mechanism. ... We want people out of the building so we don't have the potential for setting it off."

Once a building is searched, an all clear is given if nothing is found. But the investigation does not end there.

Even when nothing is found, a crime has been committed. According to Kansas Statute 21-5415, aggravated criminal threat has occurred. That is a person felony charge in Kansas — one of the more severe crime levels.

"They have caused terror or evacuation," Murphy said. "It has impacts towards a business; they are losing customers during that time. It is an impact to the customers because they can not do their normal business. Some of the people at the YMCA were not able to leave the (area) because of items they had left in lockers, that created an additional hardship for (them)."