Suspicious substance forces Berkeley police to evacuate

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Berkeley Police Department partially evacuated its headquarters Friday afternoon after an envelope containing a nonhazardous white powdery substance was found.

According to Lt. Kevin Schofield, a department staff member discovered the substance upon opening the envelope at 2:17 p.m., at which point the department partially evacuated the building at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way and requested hazardous materials resources.

The Alameda County Fire Department hazardous materials team and Berkeley Fire Department responded and found that the substance was nonhazardous, Schofield said. He added that department staff returned to the building at about 4 p.m.

“We are not yet sharing the specific details as to the type of envelope, who it was addressed to or how it was delivered as we are actively investigating the incident,” said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss in a statement released later in the day.

Bay City News reported that similar incidents occurred at the Hayward Police Department and San Leandro Police Department earlier in the day. It stated that a powdery substance was delivered to Hayward police Friday morning, and a suspicious package was reported at the San Leandro police building at 1:45 p.m.

“BPD was in communication with another Alameda County police agency who experienced a similar incident today,” Kusmiss said in the statement.

Christopher Yee is an assistant news editor.