Friday, March 23 , 2018, 8:17 am | Fair 46º


Local News


Hancock College Gets All Clear After Evacuations Prompted by ‘Suspicious Package’

Bomb squad called in to examine item found on Bradley Road that turned out to be empty box

Discovery of a suspicious package on a roadway median led to evacuations Friday at Hancock College in Santa Maria.
Discovery of a suspicious package on a roadway median led to evacuations Friday at Hancock College in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A suspicious package found Friday on a center divider near Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria led to evacuations and road closures until authorities determined the box was empty and not a danger.

The  package, a Black and Decker pressure cooker box officers said had been modified, was spotted on a center divider on Bradley Road in front of the community college’s campus, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

The item was located at 10:10 a.m., and handled in a joint operation with Santa Maria Fire Department.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad responded to assist, deploying its robot to help assess the package and determined there was nothing in the box.

“We’re calling it a good day,” said police Sgt. Russ Mengel. 

Crews also determined a second object nearby was not dangerous. 

Bradley Road in front of the college was closed during the incident. 

Additionally, in an abundance of caution, police said the east side of the college campus had been evacuated. 

A notice on the college's website said faculty, staff and students were being evacuated from buildings A, B, D, E, and F and directed to the Library or Student Center as a safety precaution.

"Students and staff are advised to go home or stay home. Access to lots 1 and 2 from Bradley is not available until further notice. Vehicles may exit the campus via College Drive,' college officials said.

The college’s fall semester classes started Monday, but college officials said the incident had minimal impact since few courses meet on Fridays.

The incident provided a test for the college’s emergency operations center, Hancock officials said.

“What’s really good is having our emergency operations center function the way it’s supposed to,” said Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers. “We just practiced this back at the beginning of summer so when the real event happens we knew exactly what to do and it worked out perfectly.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >