During Tuesday’s Select Board meeting, the board discussed setting goals for the police chief, among others.
Toward the end of the discussion with Police Chief Joseph Bennett, the issue of school safety came up — with last month’s school shooting in Texas still fresh on everyone’s minds. Police in the Texas town of Uvalde have taken a lot of criticism after reports emerged that they stayed in the hallway for about an hour while the shooter was holed up in a classroom with a number of fourth-graders, some who made 911 calls requesting help.
Bennett assured residents that his department would handle a similar situation differently.
“We — meaning the town, the schools, police, fire — have a very robust response plan,” Bennett said. “In fact, this morning we met with about 125 teachers at the school to discuss where we are, where we’re going, and it was very well received. Just know that we are ready. Minutes will not tick away. We will address any threat to our schools wherever they are, very quickly. We stand ready.
“But that doesn’t end it. We have work to do, and we’re going to continue to work, and we already have plans in the making for things we can do this summer to continue to bolster the program.”
Town Manager Norman Khumalo added that there will be a public announcement forthcoming “addressing that issue.”
On May 27, three days after the Texas shooting, Hopkinton announced there would be additional police at the schools.
“For the coming weeks, the Hopkinton Police Department will have an increased presence in all school buildings and during drop-off and pickup times, in addition to the usual school resource officer presence,” Bennett said in a statement.