Police officers were stationed outside schools in Caldwell and West Caldwell Friday afternoon in light of a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left more than 25 dead, including 18 children.
West Caldwell Police Chief Michael Bramhall said the goal was to provide a sense of security as the frightening details unfolded about a classroom of kindergartners murdered Friday morning in Newtown.
"We felt our presence would be a welcome sight to parents as they picked up their loved ones from school today," Bramhall said.
Both police departments worked together to provide security at the district's four elementary schools, as well as the middle and high schools, Superintendent James Heinegg said.
The superintendent said events such as the situation in Connecticut naturally raise concerns for everyone about the security of their own community.
"As a district, the safety of our students is our highest priority, and we are continually assessing our ability to establish a secure environment for them," Heinegg stated. "This afternoon, the Caldwell and West Caldwell Police Departments maintained an increased presence around the schools at dismissal times, in order both to provide more security and also to ease the general anxiety parents may be feeling as a result of today’s events in Newtown."
Chief Bramhall said in addition to having officers at James Caldwell High School and Washington, Jefferson and Wilson Schools this afternoon, he personally stopped by the schools at dismissal. He said numerous parents thanked him for the increased police presence.
They told him, "We're glad to see you here."
Follow the developing story in Newtown.