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HAMMOND — Local police and school officials have been on heightened alert all week in the Region in responding to a string of copycat threats of violence at schools following last week's mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

In Hammond on Friday, police stepped up their presence at Eggers Middle School in response to graffiti found inside the school, according to Hammond Police Lt. Steven Kellogg. 

Due to the nature of the graffiti, the school requested police assistance in modifying procedures in order to ensure the safety of everyone at the school, Kellogg said.

A thorough bag search was conducted for every student and visitor to Eggers, and students' movements from classes were controlled, Kellogg said. A thorough K-9 search of the grounds was also conducted by the Hammond K-9 unit, he added. 

No discernible threats of any kind were found to be present, but Kellogg said school officials "requested stepped-up security with checked bags."

"Obviously no one wants anything to be overlooked right now," Kellogg said.

Additional officers were present at school dismissal, too, he said. 

The School City of Hammond and the Hammond Police Department take every possible threat very seriously to ensure the safety of the students, staff and visitors, police said in a news release.

At no time did school administrators or the Hammond Police Department believe the school could not or should not have started Friday morning, Kellogg said. 

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Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.