I recently interviewed Boston Police Superintendent William Evans about his pivotal investigative role in the aftermath of last spring’s Boston Marathon bombings.
Evans, a keynote speaker at the recent NCS4 conference, told me that without the help of the Back Bay Security Network [BBSN], which meets monthly with the BPD, things could have turned out a lot differently. The bombing suspects were captured within a week.
Private video surveillance at the finish line helped law authorities identify the two suspects, and “we know all the cameras in that area,” thanks to that private-public partnership, Evans said.
Today, I spoke with the co-chairman of the Back Bay Security Network. Alan Snow is director of security and safety for Boston Properties’ Boston Region, as well as co-chair of Boston’s Building Owners and Management Association.
Here’s what he had to say:
“The partnership between private security and the Boston Police Department was never more evident than in the immediate aftermath of the marathon attack. Within an hour of the bombings, BPD officers obtained copies of surveillance video from multiple businesses along the marathon route on Boylston Street. Detectives knew exactly which businesses had surveillance cameras and to whom they should reach out to obtain the footage they needed to begin their investigation. In addition to the investigatory tool provided by surveillance coverage, area businesses also provided law enforcement with logistical support, including staging areas on privately owned roadways for mobile command centers and vehicles, as well as conference room space at major hotels. Local restaurants and supermarkets also opened their doors to investigators, patrol officers and tactical teams, who worked tirelessly for days after the attack.
“In addition to the Back Bay Security Network, the International Lodging Safety and Security Association [ILSSA], which is another longstanding private-public sector organization in the Boston area, was also very active during the aftermath of the marathon attack. One example is that the Westin Copley Place hotel ballroom quickly became the primary venue at which overall command and control was established by the governor, mayor and senior law-enforcement commanders in charge of the response and mitigation of the incident.
“Private-sector businesses in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston have a strong history of cooperation with the Boston Police, Fire and EMS, as well as other public agencies dating back to 1996. This relationship and the ongoing collaboration and exercises not only provided crucial testing of each entity’s respective emergency plans but also enabled invaluable networking by and between law-enforcement officials and private security managers at Boston’s area businesses.
“Consequently, private security and law-enforcement officials could dispense with the usual verification and validation process on the day of the incident since a level of familiarization and trust between the private and public sectors had already been established through years of interaction, cooperation and information sharing.”
Snow also credits his associate of 25-plus years, John Tello, who has been directly associated with Snow’s work at BBSN.
We are thankful for the police work, the private-public partnership's assistance and the end to the Boston area’s tumult. Thank you, dedicated security pros!