WAREHAM — A day after an active-shooter email threat sparked an evacuation and tense search of three schools, Police Chief Kevin Walsh and selectmen reflected on how cool heads, organization and support from across town prevailed.
"Thankfully, the threat incident proved to be unfounded," Walsh said, reading Tuesday from a prepared statement at the Board of Selectmen meeting, "and everyone involved, especially children of all ages, were safe and reunited with their family members, who we sincerely hope understand the precautionary measures that were necessarily taken."
On Monday, authorities evacuated about 500 students from Wareham High School, Wareham Middle School and Minot Forest Elementary. Students were escorted out in groups and bused to the Gleason Family YMCA, 33 Charge Pond Road, to meet their parents. A tech "savvy" team is looking into the origin of the email, Walsh said Monday, adding that officials believe it stemmed from a single person.
Walsh commended the "professional and humanitarian efforts and actions of YMCA management and staff" for providing "comfort and a feeling of security" to the students. He also thanked the Wareham School Department and School Transportation Department for their professionalism.
"Their ability to balance their set safety protocols with genuine compassion for the children in their care was truly remarkable," he said.
Selectmen Chairman Peter Teitelbaum said Shaw's Supermarket donated water for the students and Town Administrator Derek Sullivan paid for pizza. Selectman Alan Slavin said he was amazed how calm YMCA staff kept the parents and loved ones who arrived to pick up their students.
Selectman Patrick Tropeano recognized police, saying "The fact that you were so prepared should be praised, and the leadership you all showed."
Walsh said because he knew a lot of the children were scared Monday, police officers went to the schools Tuesday and gave them all high-fives to lighten the mood.
"I can't say enough about my guys," he said, sparking applause from those in attendance. "They went out of their way with a purpose, to protect the kids."
In other action:
The board continued until July 18, a hearing on a request to transfer a year-round retail packaged good all-alcoholic beverages license from Rosebrook Liquors to Patriots Liquors, dba Liquor 'N More, and transfer the location of that license to a new store planned for 16-18 Seth F. Tobey Road. Company attorney Daniel Chamberlain requested approving both at once because the new building will not be built without them. Selectmen, however, expressed caution that the new location is too close to other established liquor stores, and they noted the state liquor licensing board has suggested only the transfer be approved first and to wait to grant the location transfer. This sparked attorney Chamberlain to request the continuance.
Town administrator Derek Sullivan said the town has received a $20,500 grant to purchase three electric cars and a charging station for use by town departments.