Following a tragic shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Simsbury and Granby officials are taking steps to ensure a similar tragedy does not occur in local schools.
When news of the extent of the violence that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School began to filter out, local officials began to look at their own town's policies and procedures to prevent an incident like the one that took place in Newtown.
Almost immediately, police, school and town officials in Simsbury and Granby were in contact and conversations about safety policies and procedures began.
"We're assessing where we are right now," Simsbury Police Capt. Nicholas Boulter said.
Police officers were immediately dispatched to local schools on Friday to establish a presence and help residents feel safer in a time of tragedy.
"The purpose is to make the department more accessible," Boulter said.
In Granby, Superintendent Alan Addley contacted parents to inform them of an increased police presence at the schools and after-school events.
"It has been a tragically sad day for Connecticut and the Newtown community," Addley said.
Granby schools' crisis team met to review plans and support students on Monday, according to Addley. The email letter to parents also included a tip sheet to help parents address Friday's events with their children.
Simsbury emergency personnel and school officials plan to meet Tuesday to discuss their emergency procedures.
“We continue to mourn the loss of innocent victims of the Newtown school tragedy,” First Selectman Mary Glassman said. “At this time Town Staff, the Simsbury Police Department and the Simsbury Board of Education are working closely to ensure that our schools and our children are safe.”
In addition to consideration given to local policies, the Simsbury officials contacted Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra to offer assistance. At the town's request, the Simsbury Police Department will send an officer to support local safety personnel, according to town officials.
Farmington Valley residents have also rallied to support Newtown families with Operation Snuggle Newtown which will collect stuffed animals for the town's children. Businesses like Foy and Foy Attorneys at Law in Simsbury have offered to be drop locations for donations and the stuffed animal population has already begun to grow.
In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, questions are plenty and answers are still not within reach for communities around the world as they work to find peace and a resolution to prevent future mass killings in our schools. Officials say they will continue to maintain an open review of policies to ensure student safety moving forward.