BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Marathon bombings are going to change the way the city celebrates.
For the first time, the chief intelligence official for the Boston Police Department is speaking out about the ongoing fight against terrorism and security at the city’s next major gathering: The Fourth of July celebration on the Esplanade.
CBS News reports the marathon bombing suspects had originally plotted an attack for the Fourth of July.
WBZ’s Jon Keller sat down with Superintendent Paul Fitzgerald. He expects a huge outpouring of patriotism and community spirit at this year’s Esplanade concert, but he says people should also expect security measures never seen before.
“I’ve always felt and my department has, that Boston would be a primary target,” said Superintendent Fitzgerald.
And after Marathon Day, Fitzgerald says they’re already working with the State Police on the Fourth of July preparations.
“We’re heading to New York City to learn about the Times Square plan that they’ve put in place for New Year’s,” said Fitzgerald. “Because clearly, that’s a very high risk event that they run there, but they’re so helpful to us we’re gonna go down and see how they run that event.”
In Times Square since 9/11, there’s been a very elaborate system of partitioning and a similar layout could be implemented on the Esplanade this year.
Meanwhile, with the arrests of three local college students charged with aiding Dzhokhar Tsarneav after the fact, Fitzgerald says BPD’s ongoing collaboration with area campuses is more important than ever.
“Universities are a big part of our plan,” said Fitzgerald. “They’re active partners with us.”
He said they don’t have “watch lists” at local colleges but they do look at people who are suspicious.
For him, a major long-term challenge is fighting off public complacency.
“The further we get away from 9/11 the closer we get to 9/10,” Fitzgerald said, referring to the lax sense of security that prevailed before the 2001 attacks.
Since then, Boston Police have established a so-called trip-wire list of potential bomb-making materials, asking merchants to alert them if a suspicious customer tries to buy them.
After the marathon, he says, pressure cookers may have to be added to that list.