APD on scene Fort River School 11:45 ish
I was on my way to Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown to pick up documents relating to a very scary story from last weekend when I first heard the call and knew simply because Dispatch was addressing it to multiple patrol units and the shift supervisor (X1) that it was not going to be a routine event.
Fort River Elementary School went into "shelter in place" mode due to reports of an intruder. Although the original call did mention a possible weapon involved I chose not to report that. And I used the slightly less scary term "lockdown" in my original Tweet/Facebook post.
When I arrived on the scene about 5 minutes later three APD cruisers were scattered about the area but two school employees were out front doing routine lawn maintenance. So far so good.
Since the school was locked down officers were having trouble getting in, as apparently a key fob was not working properly. At one point an officer told Dispatch that if school officials did not come to open the door they would have to "breach it." That too I chose not to report.
Fortunately a moment later someone opened the door for them.
Within minutes APD had answered my original Tweet saying no intruder found.
@amherstac no intruder at this time found at fort river school— AmherstMApolice (@AmherstMApolice) October 9, 2015
Follow @AmherstMApolice on Twitter to stay informed
I had gone from Twitter over to Facebook to file a quick report and then got distracted by questions and comments, so I did not see the original APD response tweet to me for a few minutes.
But by then I had already figured out things were under control and stated that fairly quickly in a follow up post.
As I was leaving the scene I saw Chief Livingstone coming out the main entry and he confirmed "Everything is fine." And that was one statement I was happy to post on Facebook and Twitter.
By that time some of the responding units had already left Fort River School and headed to all the other schools in town just to be extra safe.
School Superintendent Maria Geryk, within 45 minutes of the original start of the incident, issued a robocall reassuring parents there was "no threat to the school."
Amherst officials are getting better at combining transparency with modern means of communication.
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