BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - All Berkeley Heights schools went into lockdown Thursday afternoon after the Berkeley Heights Police Department received an alert at 2:33 p.m. regarding a potential serious threat at Gov. Livingston School.
"While officers were dispatched and on route the call was escalated to a person with a weapon at the school. The call was again escalated to a report of an active shooter at the school," said Captain Robert Deitch.
In response to those reports the Berkeley Heights Police Department, in consultation with the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, ordered that all Berkeley Heights Public Schools to be placed on lockdown. Officers from Berkeley Heights and surrounding towns, including Union County Police, responded and secured the property of Governor Livingston High School.
"Berkeley Heights Detectives simultaneously began their investigation and swiftly identified a person of interest," said Captain Deitch.
The person of interest was located in another jurisdiction and debriefed by investigators who have determined that the reported threat and subsequent reports were not credible. Once this was established, and there was no longer a threat, all schools were removed from lockdown and students were dismissed.
"We are thankful for the report from the student and parent as we encourage people that see something to say something. We also appreciate the patience and understanding of the parents and the students throughout this incident," said Captain Deitch.
Out of precaution, neighboring New Providence School District also went into lockdown.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Varley issued a letter to parents explaining that the District's first priority in any situation is to ensure the safety of our students and staff. "While I understand that there is a need to communicate as soon as possible with parents, it is only after we have put measures in place, followed initial investigative procedures, and ensured the immediate safety and security of all students and staff that we can relay information," she said.
"I want to take a moment to thank the Berkeley Heights Police Department for their quick response. We also had multiple other towns respond from Union County to which we are truly grateful. Another heartfelt thank you goes out to my staff and students who were diligent in their actions. Families, I know that this was a tough situation to deal with and I appreciate your patience," said Dr. Varley.