Smithfield students thank police officers

Smithfield High School students present a banner to police officers Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Smithfield High School students said "thank you" Wednesday to police officers a week after the high school was put on lockdown.

More than 500 students and staff signed a banner to give their thanks.

Smithfield police promptly responded to the high school Feb. 25 after reports of unidentified individuals entering the school. Some students were barricaded in classrooms

"It was frightening, but definitely not something any of us had experienced at Smithfield High," senior Tayla Lombari said.

Lombari was alone in a bathroom when it happened. She was all by herself for the nearly 60 minutes it took school officials and police to figure out the unknown person was a student and that there was no threat.

"I was actually in the bathroom, but when I saw the cops they reassured me that I was going to be fine," she said.

Lombari and her classmates will never forget that feeling. They decided to show their gratitude with a banner featuring a Smithfield Police Department patch. It was presented to police Wednesday after school.

"This is really awesome I have to say," Police Chief Richard St. Sauveur said. "A very special moment for the Smithfield Police Department to be recognized in this fashion."

St. Sauveur accepted the banner, but he emphasized that his officers were just doing their jobs. He said he was glad teachers and students also did theirs.

"We'll continue to drill and practice to make sure that when and if the real deal occurs that they're ready and that we're ready," St. Sauveur said.

Since the lockdown, the school and the police department have reviewed the lockdown procedures and are making adjustments. Both groups said they hope to continue improving communication.