Police: Wristwatch mistaken for gun at Lockland Elementary

LOCKLAND, OH (FOX19) - A wristwatch mistaken for a gun.

That's what police say caused Lockland Elementary to be placed on lockdown Tuesday.

Someone called 911 after reportedly seeing a man with a gun in the school.  It turned out to be a false alarm, but for the person who called 911, the threat seemed very real.

"I'm calling from Lockland Elementary School. One of our Girl Scout leaders is afraid, thinks that she just saw somebody walk in to our building with a gun," said a caller from the school to a 911 dispatcher.

After interviewing witnesses and watching videos, police say that the object in question was not a gun, and may have been a large watch.

But, with incidents of school violence recently in Nevada and Massachusetts, and that lockdown, school officials and police are looking at how they handle these type of situations.

For some local school officials, they want any situation reported, no matter what.

"We'd rather have an occasional false alarm where somebody has a serious concern, than ignore something that can turn out to be a problem," said Randy Oppenheimer with Lakota Local School District.

Local police feel the same way.

"We ask them to err on the side of caution.  We'd rather tell them that it turned out to be nothing at all.  It turns out to be a watch or something like that, as opposed to 'I don't want to bother them.  It's probably nothing," then you find out that it is something very, very bad," said Capt. Linny Cloyd of the Florence Police Department.

Police aren't discriminating the magnitude of a potential threat, either.  In Florence, no matter what the situation, it's a full-fledged response.

"Everybody's coming.  We'll figure out who's going to do what when we get there.  We have set procedures for the departments," added Capt. Cloyd.

There are three school resource officers in the Lakota school system.  Part of a levy on a ballot next month asks to triple that number.  But, they're also asking students to be eyes and ears in the hallways, too.

"Students are kids, and you need to stress to them, and we do, if they've got a concern, tell an adult, and they'll deal with it," Oppenheimer told FOX19.

In Florence, police are constantly working with teachers and administrators to have a better plan, and a better response if there is a serious situation at a school.

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