Boston's lockdown coordination a first of its kind

By: Jenny You Email
By: Jenny You Email

(WEAU) – The Boston area was put on lockdown for most of the day as law enforcement in Massachusetts searched for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing attack.

More than 600,000 people live in Boston and if you count the suburbs, it’s close to around a million.

When a city that size goes on lockdown, it's no easy task.

Lt. Rodney Stearns, the SWAT commander for Eau Claire Co. Sheriff’s Department, said it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes coordination between police, SWAT team, bomb squad, fire department, emergency management and the list goes on and on.

But what makes this case interesting is that there is no precedent to look back on, he said.

Gov. Deval Patrick advised businesses to close and residents to stay at home on Friday. Mass transit was also shut down for most of the day as officers searched for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“I think just hearing some of the details on the news brings us to a reality check,” said Stearns. “When you think about those terms ‘lockdown’, it's used during those times where safety is paramount and in this case, that's exactly what they're trying to do; let the people know that you're dealing with somebody who's already shown that he has no worries about taking a life.”

Whether it's a city the size of Eau Claire or Boston, he said tragedy brings agencies together and it’s no longer about one agency doing the job.

“They're putting on their gear and they’re leaving that on for hours on end. They're going for long periods of time without hydration or food just to make sure their communities are safe. There's no other way to describe that than a true warrior,” said Stearns.

Officers say an MIT police officer was killed today while in a shootout with the suspect’s brother and accomplice 26-year-old Tamerlan.

“From the day they put their badge on law enforcement has to be able to understand that their life may be at stake. It’s not accepted perhaps as much as it’s understood,” said Stearns.

And with the changing times law enforcement can get information out faster than ever.

Stearns said they use the media to let people know if there's a lockdown and they also turn to social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and even mobile alerts.

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