Please read the press release from the Flagstaff Police Department and Superintendent Barbara Hickman's statement below.
Flagstaff Police Department
Contact: Sgt. Margaret Bentzen phone: 928 556 2300
FLAGSTAFF POLICE DEPARTMENT
Flagstaff Police Department. (07-21-15). The Flagstaff Police Department has been aggressively investigating the series of threats made to our public schools this past spring. This investigation has been a top priority for the Flagstaff Police Department since we received the first threat. In partnership with the Flagstaff Unified School District and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 29 year old VIKTOR LISNYAK of Staten Island New York was taken into custody in regards to these threats.
These combined investigations began in March when Thomas Elementary school received a threat from a computer generated type call indicating the caller was armed, suicidal, and near children. Other threatening calls were later received at Marshall Elementary, Knoles Elementary, and Mount Elden Middle School. All of these calls had certain details in common, and every threat was taken seriously. Flagstaff Unified School District employees as well as the Flagstaff Police Department remained vigilant in their emergency lock down responses.
The Flagstaff Police Department and the Flagstaff Unified School District met with concerned parents at the Flagstaff High School Gym on April 23, 2015 to assure the community of our continuing investigation and to answer any questions. Flagstaff Police Department personnel also met with school officials to rehearse strategies and review best practices on responding to these types of threats.
Detective Sergeant Ryan Beckman along with Detectives Adrian Barreras, and Casey Rucker worked tirelessly on this investigation. This information was shared with our local FBI office and together a collective investigation commenced. Detectives Barreras and Rucker are cross deputized as special deputies through the FBI. This collaboration allowed the investigation to progress with the help of federal resources.
On July 15, 2015 Detective Adrian Barreras and Detective Casey Rucker flew to New York accompanied by a FBI special agent. Upon arriving in Staten Island, they were able to make contact with VIKTOR LISNYAK. LISNYAK admitted making threatening phone calls to Flagstaff schools.
Twenty nine year old VIKTOR LISNYAK was taken into custody, and is scheduled to appear in Arizona Federal court on July 29, 2015 on five counts of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 875 ( c), which reads “Knowingly and willfully transmitting in Interstate commerce threats to injure or kill the person of another, including children, in violations of Title 18. Each one of these counts may result in a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. There is a potential to obtain restitution for the emergency school responses and investigative costs of these calls.
Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway concluded, “We heard our communities concerns in regards to these shameful threats against our children and in April, the Flagstaff Police Department vowed to do our best to identify and apprehend the individual responsible. Our detectives have been working tirelessly since, and their tenacity paid off. We appreciate the close working relationship we have with the FBI and FUSD, relationships that were strengthened through this experience. I am happy our children, teachers and parents can be relieved of this burden as school begins this fall semester”.
Sgt. Margaret Bentzen
Public Relations – Flagstaff Police Department
From FUSD -
For Immediate Release
Flagstaff Unified School District #1
Statement from Superintendent Barbara Hickman regarding the Flagstaff Police Department Press Release July 20, 2015.
FUSD Superintendent Barbara Hickman stated “On behalf of the entire FUSD community including our Governing Board, parents, students, and all of our dedicated staff members, I want to thank the FPD for their great tenacity and skill in the resolution of these crimes. I am deeply appreciative of the way that the Flagstaff Police Department focused their efforts on catching this individual and their willingness to pursue this to the lengths that they did to get it solved.
While I believe that the FUSD and FPD responded to the weeks of menacing phone calls with seriousness and professionalism, it was a very wearing and uncertain time for everyone and it is a relief to have that situation settled so that we can look forward to the start of school without lingering fears regarding those threats.
We are fortunate to live in a town with such a committed and engaged police department. The partnership between FUSD and the FPD is very strong and this is a great example of how we can work together to make our school community safer for everyone. "
April 28, 2015 Sinagua Middle School was awarded the A+ School of ExcellenceTM designation from the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEFTM). AEFTM Executive Director, Bobbie O’Boyle stated in the letter written to Principal Tari Popham, “You, your staff, your students and your community are to be commended for overall excellence and for all the hard work and collaborative effort it took to earn this award. Based on your outstanding application and a very memorable and impressive site visit to your campus, your school has truly earned the Arizona Educational Foundation’s A+ School of Excellence designation.” Ms. O’Boyle stated in their press release, “The A+ School of Excellence™ program celebrates outstanding schools throughout Arizona and calls attention to the positive stories and successes occurring in public schools,” “We applaud these schools for doing whatever it takes to meet their students’ needs and achieving overall success despite some of the challenges that face the education community statewide.”
Applicant schools are evaluated in the areas of student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data.
The A+ School of Excellence™ Program was created by the Arizona Educational Foundation in 1983. Its purpose is threefold:
§ to identify and give public recognition to outstanding public schools in Arizona;
§ to make available a comprehensive framework of key criteria for school effectiveness that can serve as a basis for participatory self-assessment and planning in schools;
§ to facilitate communication and sharing of best practices within and among schools based on a common criteria related to success.
According to the Arizona Educational Foundations website “Schools submit applications that provide demographic information, a description of current programs and practices, documentation of parent and community involvement, a profile of the school’s leadership and commitment to excellence, equity, service. Schools must demonstrate sustained high achievement or significant improvement through assessment data. Winning schools are recognized for their superior ability to identify and meet the academic and non-academic needs of their student population. Schools that earn the A+ School of Excellence™ designation retain their status for a 3-year period after which time they must reapply for the award.”
FUSD encourages all citizens of Coconino County to register to vote! It’s fast, it’s easy, and all you need to do is have your AZ drivers’ license and click this link: https://servicearizona.com/webapp/evoter/selectLanguage
Register and make a difference!