Who pays for bomb threats to schools?

CREATED May 8, 2013 - UPDATED: May 8, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee-area schools have experienced several bomb threats in the past couple of weeks. Each time the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department is called, they send the full bomb squad.

Sheriff David Clarke argues if the people making bomb threats are punished, it wouldn't happen as often.

"The reason you will continue to see them is because of the prosecutors in Milwaukee County," Sheriff Clarke said. "From the prosecution standpoint and from a sentencing stand point these things are viewed as pranks."

Sheriff Clarke has to take school bomb threats seriously.

"We all know 99 times out of 100, it's going to be not valid," he said. "But I'm not going to sit here and take that one percent chance."

Every time a school district calls, he sends bomb sniffing dogs, deputies, and the bomb squad, and that can be costly.

“I don't have a dollar figure for that. It's not a matter of what it's costing taxpayers because the taxpayers give us these resources to use for these situations," Clarke said.

If all those resources are used on a prank, he wants someone to pay. Clarke asks the district attorney's office and area judges to take the threats just as seriously.

District Attorney John Chisholm said most cases are prosecuted.

“When we can prove a case beyond reasonable doubt, the answer is yes," he said.

Chisholm argues the punishment needs to fit the intent.

"When you're dealing with young adults they're just not thinking through the consequence," Chisholm said.

Sheriff Clarke argues there should be jail time in each of the bomb threat cases.