Here’s what you can and can’t bring to the Boston Marathon
Five years after the harrowing day when two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon finish line, public safety officials said Tuesday they are prepared to handle a wide variety of threats when the 122nd running of the event takes place April 16.
Speaking to reporters, leaders of federal and state public safety agencies along with Boston police and Transit police said they have made adjustments to their security plan in wake of the use of trucks by terrorists in France and the Las Vegas shooter, who fired deadly shots in a rain of destruction from a hotel room.
But, they stressed, no one in local, state, or federal law enforcement has any information suggesting there is a current credible threat against the thousands of runners who will participate in the race and the tens of thousands more who will cheer them on.
For that reason, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said he believes this year’s Marathon will remain what it has historically been: a family event.
“We are doing everything we can to encourage people of all ages to come out on Marathon Day, and along the 26.2 miles, to view the race, cheer the runners, and celebrate Patriots Day,’’ he said at a press conference held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel.
Schwartz provided some specific security measures that the public must follow:
■ No backpacks.
■ No coolers, and no coolers on wheels.
■ Clear bottles are allowed up to a maximum of 1 liter in size.
■ Bring personal items in a clear plastic bag.
■ No glass bottles of any size.
He also requested that the race course and spectator areas should be considered a “no-drone zone.” “Do not bring drones and fly them above the course or over any spectator areas,’’ he said.
Law enforcement will deploy three tethered drones to help monitor security during the race and will install a large number of traffic and security cameras along the route, he said. A unified command center will be established.
Schwartz said up to 8,000 state and local uniformed police officers along with uniformed National Guardsmen will be deployed in high-visibility fashion along the 26.2 miles. He urged anyone who spots something that appears out of the ordinary to notify the nearest public safety official.
Boston Police Superintendent William Ridge, commander of the city’s uniformed officers, said Boston will in the coming days start visible preparations leading to multiple road closures, including Boylston Street and the finish line.
Key streets will be closed until about 5:30 p.m. on race day, he said. People working in the neighborhood are urged to take the MBTA to work on Marathon Monday.
Ridge said police will be on the roof tops of building and “blocker trucks” will be deployed along intersections as a bulwark against terrorists in vehicles. A security checkpoint will be set up near Audubon Circle and anyone who does not bring a bag with them will get through quickly. Bags will be searched individually, he said.
Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green spoke of the terrorist attack on April 15, 2013, that killed three people and wounded more than 260. “Everyone in this room can remember where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing,’’ he said. “We banded together, struggled through it, and came out stronger.”
Green said there is no credible threat against the MBTA. “But we cannot become complacent,’’ he said. “We are asking our riders and our employees to be our second set of eyes,’’ Green said. “Nothing is too small.”
Thomas Grilk, executive director of race operations for the Boston Athletic Association, said he was confident that the runners and the spectators will be safe given the professionalism of the law enforcement community focused on the race.
“When man plans, God laughs. Something always happens,” said Grilk. “And perhaps never more than in a massive outdoor event even with 50,000 athletes, almost 10,000 volunteers, hundreds of thousands of spectators . . . down both sides of 52 miles of roadway.”
He added: “And yet knowing that things can happen, we are immensely grateful for the people who are on this stage and in this room. They’re ready both to prevent things from happening and being altogether prepared if something does. No matter what, no matter how unimaginably horrible it may be, their performance resonates around the world.”