By Tony Parra
Law enforcement officials evacuated employees at the Roosevelt County Courthouse for an hour on Monday afternoon following a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax.
Officers with the Portales Police Department evacuated the county courthouse from 12:40 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said they received the distress call about 12:40 p.m.
“The building was already being evacuated before we got here,” Roosevelt County Sheriff Tom Gossett said. “The Portales Police Department assisted us and they helped evacuate the building. Our crews took command of the situation.”
Gossett said the call was made to the district clerk’s office and the person who took the call called 911. Sheriff’s deputies, Portales police and Portales Fire Department vehicles surrounded the four entrances to the building. They secured the area while Roosevelt County Courthouse employees waited outside around the town square.
“We got a maintenance person to open the different offices in the building,” Gossett said. “We cleared the basement and boardroom and we couldn’t have done it all without the help of the Portales Police Department.”
Gossett said employees were notified it was safe to re-enter the building about 1:40 p.m. Courthouse employees said approximately 30 people were evacuated from the courthouse.
Gossett said he could not go into detail about tracing the call or other aspects of the ongoing investigation.
Gossett and Berry said this is the first bomb threat they have responded to at the Roosevelt County Courthouse.
Courthouse employees said they could not recall any previous bomb threats at the courthouse.