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Chief Leonard: Police School Presence an “Overabundance of Caution”

Police Chief Mark Leonard said that an increased police presence at Marlborough Schools was taken to alleviate people's fears and concerns.

The police presence at Marlborough schools today is intended to alleviate concerns in response to internet chatter, Police Chief Mark Leonard told Patch Friday.

“Really it is just an over abundance of caution to let everyone know we are there," he said. “It is just allieviating everyone’s fears and concerns."

Police have been talking with school officials, staff and fire officials all week, said Chief Leonard.

“We went over everything; safety procedures and protocol," he said.

Monitoring has been taking place the entire week on everyone's part. School officials listened to and spoke to students in the school while monitoring the internet. Police turned to internet chatter and have been monitoring it all week.

“We started monitoring a lot of internet chatter and vague references and vague threats here and there," said Chief Leonard. “There was nothing with any specificity or credibility to it."

This is the kind of activity that officials look for after a tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook, he said.

“Certainly people’s sensitivity is heightenend. We expected this," said Chief Leonard. “With a click of a button these things go out to hundreds of people."

The police presence at schools today was taken to alleviate apprehension, he said. Assabet Valley Vocational High School has an officer at their location as well due to "a couple of things they had been seeing and hearing," said Chief Leonard.

“We felt it was in our best interest to have officers at those schools," he said. “They’ve been there since before the students got in and they will be there until after they leave."

Police presence will be heightened at all other schools in the district, he said, with patrols making additional sweeps through the area of schools and being in place during drop-off and pick-up.

“It is just allieviating everyone’s fears and concerns," said Chief Leonard.

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