2013-08-02 / Front Page

Police offer extra security for B2B

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

When Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton and his officers heard about the bombing that played out at the Boston Marathon in April, they began looking for ways to come together to show their support for the emergency personnel in Boston and raise money for the victims of the bombings.

“Anytime you have a tragedy like that people, especially in public safety, want to help. That is the nature of their work and what they are used to doing,” Moulton said.

Moulton said his officers soon began thinking of ways they could honor the hard work police officers, fire fighters and EMTs put in securing the scene and maintaining order in the minutes, hours and even days following the incident.

“When you have a situation like that, it generates a lot of discussion. Some of our officers began thinking ‘what can we do as do to help’. We were kicking around ideas and we realized the Beach to Beacon was coming up and it was a major event (Cape Elizabeth needed help with),” Moulton said.

Since the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race began 16 years ago, Moulton said Scarborough has sent six or seven officers to work traffic detail and secure the racecourse. This year, he said, 25 officers have volunteered to work the event, which benefits the Opportunity Alliance and begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.

Moulton said he was proud that his officers rose to occasion and decide to donate their time and resources.

Cape Elizabeth Police Chief Neil Williams said he was glad to hear Scarborough Police Department volunteered to up its participation in the event.

“It takes 40 to 60 officers to do the Beach to Beacon. We only have 13 officers so we have to reach out to other area police departments,” Williams said. “They have, in the past, been most generous in giving us officers.”

The Beach to Beacon operating fund will still be billed for the services of seven Scarborough police officers as they have been in the past. This year the Scarborough police officers decided to forgo that money for themselves and donate it to a fund that supports victims of the Boston bombing. Moulton said the approximately $1,500 will be donated to the Boston One Fund.

“We are extremely fortunate communities around here send their officers to help out. It is a large-scale event of well north of 15,000 people when you include the runners, volunteers, race staff and spectators,” said Race President David Weatherbie. “What the Scarborough Police is doing is huge. We are extremely appreciative they are stepping up by bringing an additional 18 officers. It really makes you proud to be part of this event.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon incident, Williams said the race’s security plan was revisited.

“We definitely took a look at what we had done in previous years and other measures we should be taking. We took a look at it and tweaked it. Every year we tweak it a little bit.”

The road closures, Williams said, are the same as last year. A number of streets along the Route 77 corridor will be closed for part or all of the morning. A complete list of closures is available at http://www.beach2beacon.org/roadclosings.

Williams said bulletins have been placed on telephone poles along the racecourse and a message board was placed on Route 77 on the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth line alerting residents of the closures.

Both Weatherbie and Williams said they could not specifically discuss the adapted security plan, but Weatherbie said increased police presence and no backpacks at the event are part of that plan. Runners will be provided with clear bags if necessary.

“There will be a noticeable police presence. We are doing what we can to make it a safe day for runners, spectators and race staff,” Weatherbie said.

Members of the race’s security detail, which includes officers from Portland, Scarborough, South Portland and Westbrook, are used to supplement the work of Cape Elizabeth police officers.

“We have several traffic posts and we have officers at the start and finish lines. We will be utilizing most of those officers there,” Williams said. “The visibility will be good. It is a fun race and it is always going to be a fun race. We don’t want to change that. We are going to go on as we usually do.”

Like the Boston Marathon, Moulton said the Beach to Beacon would not be possible without the cooperation of police, fire and emergency response professionals.

“The big take away for us was no one department can do it alone. That was a real lesson about working together. What those folks in Boston were able to do with the local, state and federal coming together was just remarkable.”

He said the additional police will not only provide for a safer race for runners, but also a better experience for their friends and family who are rooting them on.

“The thought was there may be someone who might be a little nervous. With a stronger police presence we are able to offer some comfort,” Moulton said.

Williams said the Beach to Beacon is another example of the strong relationship Cape Elizabeth police have with their peers in nearby communities.

“One thing we are very fortunate to have in this area is the cooperation between departments on a day to day basis. We never have any problems and there are never turf issues,” Williams said. “We have a great working relationship with each other. I can call on them anytime and they can call on me anytime.”

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