Photo by Joshua Touster//2013
As the national spotlight continues to shine on Watertown, the suburban town now known for the Marathon bombing manhunt that unfolded late last week, residents are feeling a newfound pride in their hometown.
“Whenever we used to go out of town and people asked us where we’re from, we used to say Boston,” Watertown police chief Ed Deveau said at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting to hearty laughter from councilors and attendees. “Well, no more. Everyone knows where Watertown is now.”
After the violent shootout early Friday between police and the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and then a day-long citywide manhunt for Dzhokhar, Americans across the country now recognize the town and the important role it played in the drama.
Deveau said that although the recognition for his officers came at a gloomy expense, he feels proud that his department has been receiving applause from nationwide dignitaries, beloved local sports teams, and the residents they serve.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has called the Watertown Police Department, asking for Watertown police hats for his team to wear during the NFL draft this week.
Belichick specifically asked for an oversized Watertown police sweatshirt, Deveau said.
“That’s no joke,” the chief said after the meeting, clearly amused.
An official "Watertown Strong" shirt is being screenprinted by Three Twins Productions, a Watertown-based screen-printing company, and sold online only, with funds benefiting the recently-established Watertown Police Foundation, Inc.
Watertown police officers were also among those honored at a recent Red Sox game and were invited to a Bruins game.
Police officers from Watertown also met with Vice President Joe Biden at MIT earlier Wednesday, Deveau said. The officers directly involved in the violent shootout were given the most time with the vice president.
“He was a real gentleman,” Deveau said of Biden. “He told the officers that he followed events on TV, heard how the situation was described, and commended them on how they handled it.”
At the meeting, Town Council president Mark Sideris also praised the first responders, including fire chief Mario Orangio and public works director Gerald Mee.
“We as a town will have an appropriate ceremony at an appropriate time,” he promised the room. “We’re extremely proud of your efforts, and we’re all proud to call Watertown our home.”
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org