Chief Michael Ricciardelli reports that the Saugus Police Department responded to an incident of swatting that briefly interrupted classes at Saugus High School this afternoon.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 1:09 p.m., Saugus Police received a call from an unknown male who claimed to have a firearm and an intent to do harm to those at Saugus High School.

All available Saugus Police Officers responded immediately to Saugus High School, which was immediately placed into lockdown in accordance with pre-established policies and procedures.

Saugus Police searched both the building and grounds of Saugus High School to ensure there were no unauthorized individuals on the campus, and quickly determined the call was one of more than a dozen hoax calls that have been made across the Commonwealth so far this week.

Classes at Saugus High School returned to normal approximately 29 minutes after the lockdown was put into place.

“I am pleased by the quick and coordinated response that both Saugus Police and Saugus Public Schools had to this incident, and I’m relieved to report that the call was just a hoax,” said Chief Ricciardelli. “We nevertheless responded in accordance with pre-established policies and procedures that we have rehearsed together before because the safety and security of students and staff in Saugus Public Schools is our top priority.”

“Swatting,” according to Oxford Language is “the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” The phrase entered the dictionary in 2015 and has been recognized as a criminal phenomenon by the FBI since at least 2008.

The incident remains under investigation by Saugus Police. Saugus Police have been in communication with state and federal law enforcement, which are investigating a series of similar incidents targeting communities around the Commonwealth this week.