People who attend the Oct. 6 Twin Cities Marathon shouldn't hesitate to report anything that looks unusual or out of place, cautions the man who led the police response to the Boston Marathon.
Boston Police Department Superintendent William Evans is sharing his department's experiences with about 70 police chiefs from around the state. He came to Minnesota at the invitation of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, which paid for his trip.
Evans came to Bloomington to discuss how Boston police had prepared for a possible attack, and how police responded to the April 15 bomb blasts that killed three people and injured hundreds.
He said it is much easier to secure events with controlled entry points, like buildings, where security can search everyone who comes in, but a marathon poses a challenge for authorities.
"It's very difficult to police," Evans said. "I think obviously most marathons will focus on probably that last 1/2 mile where you have the finish, where you have the TV cameras. But 26.2 miles -- everybody's gotta pay attention, no matter where it is."
In Boston, he said, officers did a good job of quickly clearing the scene of the bombing but the department probably should have more quickly relieved some officers who worked long hours under highly stressful conditions.
"That's one of the takeaways I think we have to deal with," Evans said. "We had some young officers who had six months on the job, who were dealing with some horrific sights that they had seen, and they stayed on the line. And we're just looking at it basically, saying 'how could we have improved that?'"
Evans, who ran the marathon, was called to respond to the bombing soon after he finished the race. He led the city's emergency response to the bombing and was involved in the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who police found hiding in a covered boat in Watertown, Mass., just outside Boston.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to charges in the bombing. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed following a gun battle with police on April 19.