Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero, who sent 24 officers, including a SWAT team, to Boston and Watertown, said members of his department had a strong desire to help any way they could.
“They wanted this guy caught,” Romero said. “They wanted to be a part of it. This was an attack on all of us.”
He said it’s too soon to determine the personnel costs of the past week, “but whatever the expense, it’s something we have to do. We were there to help out.”
Plymouth Chief Michael E. Botieri went, along with eight officers and an armored vehicle, to help Boston in the days after the attack and then to assist in the Watertown manhunt. He said the experience was eye-opening.
“These officers and everyone that was there, the special units, they trained for this,” Botieri said. “But this was a little different because it was a terrorist. You add the component of improvised explosive devices, that’s not something we train for on US soil, that’s more military tactics. It was an added danger to the situation.”
Newton Police Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker, who was among the first to assist after the bombings by halting the race for many runners a quarter-mile past Heartbreak Hill, said the department took officers off their regular details in Newton late Thursday into Friday, when they heard the police radio calls requesting that all available units come to Watertown.
“Officers who heard it on the radio came in from home,” he said. “So there was a good response to assist Watertown.”
Wells, Milton’s chief, found it hard to describe what he heard unfolding on police radios during the pursuit of Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who later died after engaging in a gunfight with police and then being run over by a car being driven by Dzhokhar as he sped from the scene.
“ ‘Surreal’ is not a good enough word,” said the 28-year veteran.
“You had Officer Collier killed, Officer Donohue wounded, one suspect killed. The suspect on the loose, he had detonated or threw something at [police] as he was leaving. From where we were in the [Boston] command center, we clearly realized the chances of someone else losing their lives was very high.”
By 6 p.m. Friday, Governor Deval Patrick suspended the “shelter-in-place” order for Watertown, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton, and Waltham after the manhunt came up empty. About an hour later Tsarnaev was found in a boat stored in a backyard in Watertown just outside the perimeter where the manhunt had been most intense.
Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie, whose department provided two bomb-sniffing dogs throughout the investigation, said members of his and Revere’s SWAT teams were there when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured.
“It was a long day, [but] this is what these guys live for, to go out and do the job when the need arises,” Mazzie said. “Boston is the largest police department in the state, and they needed help, and we did that for them. Hopefully, we’ll never ever have to respond to anything like this again.”