State police are in the process of transferring control and protection of Sandy Hook Elementary School to Newtown police, Police Chief Michael Kehoe said Friday.
Making the transition will be a gradual process as state troopers wrap up the crime scene investigation, Kehoe said.
Newtown police are guarding Sandy Hook to prevent thieves or anyone else from getting inside, Kehoe said. Police are “very concerned” about the possibility that curious people may also try to sneak inside for a look, Kehoe said.
“That would be devastating to the families,” Kehoe said, referring to relatives of the victims of the mass shooting there. “Our aim is to protect the school as best as possible.”
On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza shot his way into the school, killed 20 school children and six woman, then killed himself. He had earlier killed his mother at the family’s home.
Police have secured Sandy Hook Elementary with a fence around the perimeter bearing “No trespassing” signs, and windows are covered with plywood, Kehoe said. If someone is found trespassing, the consequences will be severe, he said.
“We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Kehoe said.
Students who attend Sandy Hook will start classes next week at Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe.
To make that transition easier, people who work for the town and the school system have moved supplies, books and other items from Sandy Hook to Chalk Hill to make the place seem familiar to some degree. During that process this week and last week, people were going in and out of Sandy Hook Elementary School. A wall was built to separate the crime scene from the rest of the school.
The Newtown police department has 45 officers who have been working long hours since the shooting. After the massacre, there were 30 to 40 place that police needed to be. An officer was assigned to each of the homes of the 20 children who died, to shield their families from a media swarm; officers were needed at funerals; at Sandy Hook Elementary; and at other locations around town. They had assistance from state police and from other police departments as far away as Stonington and Storrs, Kehoe said.
People in town have brought food and beverages to officers in the field, and there has been a huge outpouring of help.
At this point,”we’re looking for some sense of normalcy,” Kehoe said, adding that Newtown is moving forward as “a more unified community.”