Security heightened as Marathon begins

Security heightened as Marathon begins
April 21, 2014, 11:00 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON — Police officers with dogs swept the finish line area more than two hours before the first racers went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

About 10 Boston police officers, half with leashed dogs, walked up and down Boylston Street, site of two bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 last year.

About an hour later, Boston police commissioner William Evans made his way to the finish line and did a local TV interview.

On Wednesday, Evans said security would be enhanced after a man carrying a backpack with a rice cooker was arrested on Boylston Street on Tuesday night.

The race Monday was already scheduled to have more than double the security presence of last year.

Security statistics include over 3,000 uniformed police officers and National Guard soldiers deployed along the course, up to 500 plain clothes officers in the crowd and over 100 video cameras along the eight cities and towns that will all have emergency operation centers.

Backpacks were not forbidden, but spectators — some one million expected — were asked not to bring them and to place items in clear plastic bags if they must.

“We’re not going to scare people,” Evans said Wednesday. “Runners should be very confident coming to this race that it’s going to be safe and secure. … I don’t want everybody’s anxiety to be put up. That’s what troubles me about what happened last night.”

-- Nick Zaccardi, NBC Sports