Public safety officers advance toward the cafeteria entrance of Westford Academy after receiving orders on a radio device to enter the building in pursuit of a mock shooter. PHOTO BY ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Public Safety Officials Hold Mock Drill at Westford Academy

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Public safety officers advance toward the cafeteria entrance of Westford Academy after receiving orders on a radio device to enter the building in pursuit of a mock shooter. PHOTO BY ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Public safety officers advance toward the cafeteria entrance of Westford Academy after receiving orders on a radio device to enter the building in pursuit of a mock shooter. PHOTO BY ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Westford Safety officials conducted a mock active shooter drill at Westford Academy this morning, continuing a week-long school security training program, the first ever of its kind to be executed at the high school.

Westford Police officers and firefighters could be seen gathered in front of the cafeteria entrance at Westford Academy today, April 18, at 9:45 a.m. Police officers, all wielding blue training guns, listened to radio reports detailing the whereabouts of an imaginary school shooter. When the time was right, they entered the building, blue pistols drawn, and set out to find him.

Superintendent Bill Olsen publicly announced these upcoming drills in a Facebook post yesterday, April 17, thanking Police Chief Thomas McEnaney for taking charge of this effort.

“During the next few days,” Olsen said, “[The] Westford Police Department will be conducting training at Westford Academy related to school safety. My thanks to Chief Tom McEnaney for initiating this important training!”

Public safety officials review their crisis plan at a school security drill at Westford Academy on April 18. PHOTO BY ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Public safety officials review their crisis plan at a school security drill at Westford Academy on April 18. PHOTO BY ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

A town safety official who declined to be named, confirmed this morning that such heightened security measures have risen in response to recent security threats both locally as well as nationwide.

Since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the town of Westford has seen a few small incidents, including an alleged shooting threat at Westford Academy on March 2, which prompted a K-9 search of the school. On March 6 Crisafulli elementary school custodian James Healy was arrested after a loaded and unlicensed handgun was discovered in Healy’s car trunk on school grounds.

In response to these episodes, Olsen presided over a school security forum March 12, facing approximately 200 Westford students and parents.

Anthony Cammalleri is a Westford Academy senior completing his capstone internship at WestfordCAT.