All clear after police investigate suspicious package

URBANA, Illinois – Campus was deemed safe Wednesday evening after University of Illinois Police investigated a suspicious package at Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana.

At about 5:43 p.m., a UIPD patrol officer was approached by an Illinois employee who reported that an unusual package was present near an entryway to the building. An explosive ordnance detection dog was on duty and dispatched to examine the package. The bomb-sniffing K9 indicated that the box contained a hazardous substance.

Police evacuated the building and issued an Illini-Alert emergency notification to all students, faculty and staff after the bomb-sniffing dog indicated a possible danger.

The East Central Illinois Bomb Squad, which has officers from both the University of Illinois Police Department and Champaign Police Department among its members, was dispatched to conduct further analysis of the package. An X-ray of the box helped them determine that it did not contain an explosive device.

The box contained materials that may have caused the dog to indicate the presence of potentially hazardous substances, but the contents were in no way illicit or dangerous.

Police issued the “all-clear” Illini-Alert after they confirmed the scene was safe to re-enter.

The University of Illinois Police Department appreciates the attentiveness of the employee who initially alerted officers to the package. Police often rely on the assessment of people who are more frequently present in a certain area to determine whether something is unusual or out of the ordinary, since they are more familiar with the specific places where they work or live.

Community members are always encouraged to make a report to police if they notice potentially suspicious activity or if something seems out of place.

“And if it turns out to be nothing to worry about, that’s a good thing,” said University of Illinois Police Chief Matt Ballinger. “We prefer that to the alternative of something bad happening because no one said anything.”