Patrols are bolstered on T and at Logan
Boston and state law enforcement agencies are conducting more visible and vigilant patrols in response to the killing of Osama bin Laden, public safety leaders said yesterday, emphasizing that the response is a precaution and not a reaction to a specific threat.
Governor Deval Patrick conducted a security briefing with the National Guard and several state agencies, including the MBTA Transit Police, State Police, and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
“Everyone is on appropriate, heightened alert with greater presence at the airport and on the T, but not because we have any new or concerning information — just in an excess of caution,’’ Patrick said, speaking with reporters at the State House.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan each said their officers were conducting enhanced patrols, guided by state and federal intelligence reports.
“To reassure the riding public, we are going to increase our high-visibility patrols on the trains, probably at least through the end of the week,’’ MacMillan said. The measures will include conducting more security inspections in stations and on train cars, and deploying explosive-detection dogs.
MacMillan said the Transit Police presence would be especially heightened during events that generate high use, including
Davis said the Boston Police Department’s intelligence unit worked through the night to monitor state and federal reports after the news of bin Laden’s death late Sunday.
“Although there’s no specific threat to the city of Boston, we’ve directed our officers to exercise increased vigilance in their day-to-day duties on the streets,’’ he said, in a video posted online at www.bpdnews.com.
In the video, Davis asked residents to exercise restraint. “Continue to be respectful of the neighborhoods and honor those who have sacrificed with peaceful public displays,’’ he advised.
Logan International Airport also beefed up security in response to the death of bin Laden, who as leader of Al Qaeda oversaw the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that included two airplanes hijacked from Boston and flown into New York’s World Trade Center. Thomas Kinton, executive director of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, asked travelers to remain vigilant, even while he called it an otherwise normal day.
“One has to understand terrorism has got many heads,’’ Kinton said. “One head was lopped off yesterday that was long sought after, and that’s a good thing, but by no means does it mean victory. And we have to remain extra cautious and alert because we don’t know what kind of plan this guy had, if and when his demise came.’’
Kinton, Massport’s aviation director at the time of the terror attacks, was in Montreal that day before being transported back to Logan by the State Police — first by car, then in an airplane escorted by an F-16 fighter jet.
Over the last decade, Logan has revamped its security system under the guidance of the former head of security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. Logan was the first US airport to test an Israeli technique for identifying suspicious passengers, and the first to arm its State Police force — which has doubled in size since 9/11 — with submachine guns.
Logan was also the first major US airport to operate an integrated conveyor-belt system that screens checked baggage for weapons and explosives on the way to airplane cargo holds.
Kinton, who is retiring next month, emphasized that a terror threat continues despite bin Laden’s death. “Everyone should continue to remain vigilant and not relax as a result of this,’’ he said.
“As big a deal as it is, this is no time to let our guard down.’’
Noah Bierman of the Globe staff contributed to this report.