Update: No serious threat in Berlin, police said.

Published on Friday, 23 February 2018 15:16
Written by Lisa Backus


BERLIN- A perceived online threat traced back to Berlin caused concern among parents Friday when officials announced a police presence would be at the schools as precaution.

Police and officials from Homeland Security determined that there was no actual threat to the Berlin schools, Superintendent Brian Benigni said.

Officials from Homeland Security and a Federal Bureau of Investigation terrorism task force found what appeared to be a threat on the Internet Thursday night and contacted Berlin police, Deputy Chief Christopher Ciuci said. The online post was traced back to an Internet Protocol address that was located in Berlin, Benigni said.

The post didn’t directly mention Berlin schools and was later determined not to be a credible threat, Benigni said. “I don’t think it was specifically directed at the schools,” Benigni said.

But since the IP address was linked to Berlin, as a precaution, police decided to have a heightened police presence at the schools on today, he said.

The post was not associated with an online threat in New Mexico that referenced “bhs,” a school in that state, Ciuci said.

The police contacted Benigni at about 7:45 a.m. today to let him know about the possible threat and that extra police would be at the schools, the superintendent said.

Benigni sent out a recorded email and a phone call explaining to parents why there were extra officers at the schools this morning. “I wanted the parents to know,” he said.

A few minutes after the email and phone call was sent at about 10 a.m. parents took to Facebook to express their concerns. “Nothing like a phone call from the school saying there was a potential threat made online,” one parent said on Facebook. “But no worries the police looked into this threat and they dismissed it. Just like the FBI dismissed the warnings that boy made in Florida. But no worries they have extra police around the schools today.”

Benigni said he fielded about three dozen calls from parents after the phone call went out. “Every parent has been fantastic,” he said. “They have been extremely supportive.”

Classes were not interrupted by the incident and after school activities were coming off as planned, he said.

Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, on Friday, 23 February 2018 15:16. Updated: Friday, 23 February 2018 15:18.