BOSTON (CBS) – Boston needed all the help it could get after a peaceful protest turned into a riot. Officials called in the National Guard for assistance.

Former Boston Police Commissioner and WBZ security analyst Ed Davis said, “If you have to call out the National Guard you have moved into a different level that nobody wants to see.”

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Davis says the troops are trained as military and they are carrying long rifles. Not something you generally see policing American cities.

National Guard vehicles arrived in Boston following destruction at the end of protests in the city, May 31, 2020. (WBZ-TV)

But Davis tells WBZ they are needed. “There’s a segment of the people who are bad guys looking for trouble some are anarchists or just criminals who want to rob stores and they use that large crowd for cover and anonymity, you saw it play out last night and it was really tragic,” Davis said.

With more protests sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd planned for this week, Davis says going forward preparation is key starting with intelligence gathering to prevent trouble from ever starting. Boston and State Police along with the FBI are already working on that.

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Once events are underway, Davis says, “you will see a very heavy presence of military, very heavy presence of police out there tonight to try to stop this from happening.”

WBZ security analyst Ed Davis (WBZ-TV)

“There is a very delicate balance here,” Davis said. “Police have to use force judiciously but there is rampant criminal activity that needs to be stopped and sometimes you need force to stop it and that’s where we are right now,” Davis said.

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The National Guard has only been used twice. Once during the Boston Marathon bombing and before that during the 1919 Boston Police strike.