According to a police report, a 26-year-old man has been charged with threatening the University of Wisconsin campus on social media.
The suspect, a UW student, was arrested last Friday and taken into custody without incident around 9 a.m. before being taken to the Dane County Jail, Madison Police Department public information officer Stephanie Fryer said in an interview .
Fryer continued to speak out about the arrest, saying it was the result of a threat posted on Yik Yak, a social media platform, that alluded to bringing guns onto campus.
Hansen was charged with a felony count of terrorist threats and appeared in court Tuesday, Fryer said. He received a signature statement on the condition that Hansen be unarmed and not on the UW campus.
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Fryer said MPD takes any threat seriously, especially after the recent Michigan State University shooting.
“We just witnessed a very scary and traumatizing incident on the Michigan State campus – it’s a reminder and a reason we take threats seriously because we can’t [immediately] guarantee what isn’t credible and what is believable,” Fryer said. “Any threat, once we receive it, is treated as credible until we can further investigate it.”
Fryer said the threat was brought to MPD’s attention because the Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified that a threat had been made and they referred it to MPD. The UW Police Department is also cooperating with the investigation.
MPD not only learns about threats as soon as they are reported, but also monitors events and social platforms through its criminal investigation department.
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Fryer stressed that people should exercise caution and be aware of what they post online, urging people to call 911 or report people they trust if they see anything that could affect public safety, even if it might just be a joke.
“Even if this is meant to be a joke, jokes can have consequences,” Fryer said. “So we’re really just asking the public to pay attention to what they post on social media. If you see anything concerning, contact us, report it to someone you trust if it is you [a] younger person – these kinds of things could lead to a very scary situation which is why we want to be notified so we can investigate them to see if they are credible or not.”