BOSTON (CBS) — A terrorism and security analyst says that the Boston Police Department is overpreparing for Saturday’s Free Speech Rally, but that’s okay.
Former Boston Police Commissioner and WBZ-TV Security Analyst Ed Davis told WBZ-TV’s David Wade that there are a lot of behind the scenes preparations the public doesn’t see.
“First it’s good intelligence. The first thing we do is spend a lot of time in the days and weeks leading up to an event like this is look at the internet. We talk to sources on the street and talking to our federal partners and state partners and getting as much good information as to what the challenge is going to be,” Davis said.
Then Davis says they put out enough officers.
“That’s another thing we do well here,” he said. “We also train the officers.”
“We train individually as a unit. The officers are part of something we call public order platoons. They’re taken off the street frequently and they’re trained individually and as a unit to use special tactics in these events.”
Davis says that when an event like a major rally is coming, there are major challenges.
“There is nothing good that can come from this. This is all bad. The best you can hope for is that you can maintain the peace and hope that no one gets injured,” he said. “You don’t want to see this coming. These are the things you dread if you’re the police commissioner.”
Davis says the challenge is keeping the crowd separate.
“They have to allow people to exercise their Constitutional rights. These officers raise their right hand and swear to uphold the Constitution,” he said.
“No matter how reprehensible the message, they have to give people the right to speak and hold the crowd back,” Davis said. “Only if it gets violent can they come in.”
Some people have said the Charlottesville didn’t do a good job during the event on August 12. Davis agreed.
“There weren’t a lot of arrests and there was a lot of violence that occurred there. The police can go back and investigate those cases and I hope they do,” Davis said.
“They need to look at every piece of video tape and charging anybody that did anything. Assault with a deadly weapon, serious felony charges should have been pursued,” Davis also said.
However there were reasons for the Charlottesville Police’s lack of intervention.
“There were tactical reasons they didn’t get in there. The court forced them into allowing the demonstration in a part of town that wasn’t advantageous for the police,” Davis said.
Davis gives advice to families who may be coming into Boston Saturday.
“You can come into the city. You can go to the Seaport, you can go to the Back Bay. There are all sorts of places you can go–up in the Fenway area,” Davis said. “Stay away from the Common during those two hours until we know what’s going to happen.”
And if you’re going to the Common or will be near the Common, he also has some advice.
“Always leave yourself an exit,” Davis said, “When violence starts, put as much distance between yourself and the violence. Get out of there.”