Heightened crowd control, more bag searches and more than 100 cameras will be in effect when roughly a million people gather Monday to watch nearly 30,000 runners at the 2015 Boston Marathon. Local police outlined Friday their security measures for the annual event, two years after a terrorist bombing killed three people and injured 264 others near the finish line of the 26.2-mile course.
"The city will be the same positive environment that people are used to enjoying during the marathon," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in an attempt to diminish concerns that the event, which has taken place since 1897, would be marred by heavy-handed security measures. Last year the event took place with police helicopters hovering overhead and bomb-sniffing K-9 units mingling with the crowds, but few protested the added measures.
“We’ve got a lot of cameras out there. We’re going to be watching the portions in Boston, particularly the routes along Boylston Street, the finish line,” Boston Police Deputy William Ridge told Boston’s WBUR.
Measures include limiting crowding along sections of the marathon’s path, random bag searches, a larger than usual emergency medical team, and 50 police observation points toward the finish line.
Monday’s marathon takes place a day before the sentencing hearing begins in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, who faces the death penalty for his participation in the April 15, 2013, bombing. Tsarnaev was found guilty last week of helping his brother Tamerlan, 26, plant two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at separate locations near the finish line. Tamerlan died four days after the bombing following a shootout with police.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty while the defense is seeking life in prison without parole in exchange for giving up the protracted appeals process that could take place if a jury decides the defendant should be executed. Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty, but Tsarnaev could be executed based on federal charges, as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was in 2001. Bill and Denise Richard, parents of 8-year-old Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard, appealed to prosecutors Friday to rule out a death sentence.