WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport Police amped up its presence at all Westport schools Friday in response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday morning, Westport Police Chief Dale Call said.
“Although there was never any indication of a threat to the safety of Westport’s schoolchildren resulting from this morning’s incident, the Westport Police Department increased the patrol presence around the town’s schools through the day,” Call said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“In addition, day-shift officers have been held over to maintain a visible presence in those areas throughout school dismissals,” Call added.
Upon hearing news of the shooting, Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon made the call to move all outdoor activities at all eight of the town’s schools indoors Friday.
Landon stressed there are a number of security procedures in place at all Westport schools to keep children safe. For example, all doors at every school are locked during the day, and no one can get in from the outside without being buzzed in, Landon said.
As an extra security measure Friday, Landon said no one was allowed into the buildings without being "double checked." School administrators, he added, also insured that all the doors at their school were locked and couldn’t be breached. This is something administrators do periodically on a normal school day as well, he said.
By mid-day Friday, Landon said he had sent an email to all parents ensuring them that extra security measures had been taken.
Ever since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, Landon said, every Westport school practices lockdown drills throughout the year. These drills, he said, are done at random. He said there are also escape procedures in place at every school.
If there ever were an emergency situation that required escape procedures to be put into play, Landon said that all teachers are trained to make sure every student is accounted for.
School administrators, he said, are also trained to report any suspicious people they may see in the area to police immediately.
“Our police department is very good. They respond to us almost instantly,” Landon said.
Landon said he is confident in the security measures taken at the school are strong. However, he said he will be meeting with school administrators to discuss the issue.
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