A “suspicious package” was reported at the Hall County Administration Building early Monday morning.
Law enforcement officials, including Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska State Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation, arrived at the 121 S. Pine St. location.
The package was sent to the county’s election office, County Elections Commissioner Tracy Overstreet confirmed at the site.
Staff members were evacuated from the building immediately, and waited at the adjacent, but distant, Buildings & Grounds Department building.
After 10 a.m., the building was cleared and, at about 10:15 a.m., staff members returned to the building.
An investigation is underway.
“FBI Omaha agents in Grand Island are working with our law enforcement partners from several agencies regarding the suspicious package found at the Hall County Administration building. We cannot comment further at this time,” Amy Adams, FBI Omaha public affairs officer, said in a statement.
Asked what constitutes a suspicious package, FBI Omaha declined to comment.
At about 9:15 a.m., Hall County Sheriff Rick Conrad came into the building and went to each of its offices to tell employees to evacuate the building immediately because a “suspicious package” had been delivered.
Employees acted upon directions detailed in the county’s emergency plan, said County Clerk Marla Conley.
“We have it listed in there what we’re supposed to do,” Conley said. “We locked the vaults, roll down our windows, lock our offices, and then everyone is to exit the building.”
Facilities Director Doone Humphrey worked with law enforcement to help ensure the total evacuation of the building.
“We have to make sure everybody leaves the building and is accounted for once they leave the building,” he said. “Of course, someone’s already notified the Sheriff’s Department, so they responded right away. My responsibility is to manage the people out here in the parking lot. This is where they come in this type of emergency.”
The only time previously the building had to be evacuated in a similar fashion was due to a nearby gas leak several years prior, Humphrey explained.
“This is the first time it’s happened as far as a bomb scare goes,” he said.
More than 30 people were evacuated.
HCSO and Humphrey kept the employees informed about what was going on throughout the morning.
Conley said, “It was a minute-to-minute update to make sure everybody was safe and we were following protocol.”
An inspection was completed to ensure the building was safe before employees were allowed back inside.
Conley helped keep employees together outside the administration building.
“I made sure each department head was responsible for making sure their office and all of their staff have exited and were located, so we knew they were all there,” she said.
The atmosphere was one of great concern, Conley said.
“Especially with everything that’s going on right now, it is a serious concern. This is early in the whole election process,” she said. “It is unnerving, but we’ve got our plan, we have it in place, and we knew what we had to do.”
Hall County Administration Building, 121 S. Pine St., has been evacuated due to reports of a suspicious package, according to Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
The package was delivered to the Hall County Elections Office, Elections Commissioner Tracy Overstreet confirmed.
The lockdown lasted from roughly 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.
No injuries reported.
Building visitors and staff were kept on the far end of the site’s parking lot while Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nebraska State Patrol and Hall County Sheriff's Office responded.