Administrators at the Grand County School District put all district schools on lockdown near the end of the school day on Monday, March 11, after mistaking U.S. Marshals for a threat to school safety.
During a meeting with the Moab City Council on March 12, Chief of Police Jim Winder said that the event was “damn scary” and that many of the staff and students involved were “emotionally affected.”
According to a statement from the school district, officers from the U.S. Marshals Service arrived in Moab around 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 11, to conduct an operation. Winder said there were 20 officers, preparing to serve a warrant.
“The officers failed to communicate with local law enforcement and instead began to prepare for their operation in a school parking lot,” the school district said in a statement.
Winder made similar statements during the city council meeting and that he had a “robust discussion about our displeasure” with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Teachers saw the agents “kitting up” in the parking lot of a local school, which the school district said in a statement “raised legitimate community concerns and resulted in the initiation of the lockdowns.”
Officers from multiple local law enforcement agencies, including Utah Highway Patrol and the National Park Service, “responded and contacted the federal agents, identified the error and determined that there was no threat to the community,” according to a statement.
The Times-Independent did not receive a response from the U.S. Marshals regarding the matter before press time.
“The marshals completed their operation and have since departed Moab,” the school district said in a statement.