WENHAM – Wenham Police Chief Kevin DiNapoli and Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens issue the following statement:
“As first responders, the Hamilton and Wenham Police Departments were heartbroken to learn of the senseless violence at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Our thoughts are with the students, staff, educators, first responders and the entire community in Uvalde, but we are also focused on those here at home who may understandably be concerned about the frequency of such acts of violence, and the security of our schools.
“The safety of our schools is our highest priority, so working together to ensure that there is a secure environment within the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District has long brought the Hamilton and Wenham Police Departments together, and we continue to work in unison with school leaders this week.
“Hamilton Police and Wenham Police both maintain a presence in Hamilton-Wenham schools, with a School Resource Officer and members of both departments working in schools. Additionally, school and police leaders maintain a close, collaborative relationship and schedule drills and training that keep security-related skills sharp for both school staff and first responders.
“We met with school leaders earlier this week, coincidentally, to review our responses to an active-shooter drill conducted jointly with schools several weeks ago. We continue to work and train with school leaders and staff to constantly learn more and improve our response plans and security measures.
“We collaborate with schools, the Hamilton and Wenham Fire Deparments, EMS services and other local agencies to evaluate security and run drills both during school hours and after school hours.
“The Hamilton and Wenham Police Departments and other community partners have worked hand in hand with school staff to create emergency preparedness plans for every building in the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District. Every building in the district also has its own Crisis Response Team that can be activated in an emergency.
“We have also worked with school staff and other partner to implement ALICE protocol as a response to any potentially armed intruder in our schools. ALICE protocol combines infrastructure, technology, and human action to maximize overall student and staff safety and preparedness. Staff are trained in ALICE protocol annually, with additional drills scheduled throughout the year.
“The Hamilton and Wenham Police Departments have also worked with Hamilton-Wenham schools to improve communication abilities and technology. Handheld radios have been distributed in schools to facilitate direct communication between staff and first responders, and increased use of camera systems allow schools to be monitored at all times.
“We have been devastated to learn of the violence in Texas this week, and our hearts go out to that community, but while we grieve, we also remain focused here at home on ensuring that students and staff in our schools have a secure environment to learn and grow free from fear.”
Anyone in the Hamilton and Wenham communities who has concerns about security is encouraged to contact police or school leaders.
Hamilton and Wenham Police also encourage everyone in the community to report suspicious activity to police. “Everyone is more secure when police and community members work together.”