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Capano's correct call: Caution trumped convenience

September 14. 2018 8:18PM

Central High School band members Raymond Howard, left, Noah Merrow and Sofia Mendes, all sophomores, console each other after getting released to their parents at Hillside Middle School after a standoff in downtown Manchester on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano made a difficult call a week ago Friday in the lockdown at Central High School in the wake of a deadly shooting nearby. We think it was the right one.

There has been much second-guessing since the city experienced a tense, multi-hour, SWAT search and standoff in which a suspected murderer was believed to be holed up in an apartment building near the high school.

The fact that the alleged shooter turned out not to be in that building when police entered doesn't change our view of the chief's caution about the school.

There are, of course, lessons that can be learned from this. When the suspect was discovered, at mid-week, he had not moved far. We would have liked to have seen police and school officials emphasize even more the need to be careful and on the lookout in the ensuing days.

During the lockdown, the Manchester School Department and Superintendent Bolgen Vargas should have been prompter and more forthcoming in updating worried student families, friends, and the city at large.

Evacuation plans that would allow for a quicker turnaround at the big city schools in such situations should be developed.

The bottom line is that a lot of people were inconvenienced and upset last weekend. But a day loused up is infinitely better than one in which innocent lives are lost.

(The school department also gets a poor grade for the situation at Webster Elementary School. Its failure to promptly let parents know of the sudden and unexplained absence of the principal as the school year begins is unacceptable. And how many times can retired Principal Extraordinaire Elinor Murphy be called to the rescue?)

Public Safety High schools Editorial Manchester

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