Police to Boost NYC Presence

Posted July 27, 2004 at 5:30pm

While praising Capitol Police officers deployed to Boston for the Democratic National Convention, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pickle said Tuesday that Congressional officials are considering increasing the number of law enforcement personnel assigned to next month’s Republican gathering in New York.

“We will critique our performance here. Capitol Police will critique their performance here,” said Pickle, who serves on the three-member Capitol Police Board, which oversees the force. “I’m sure there’ll be adjustments made when we go to the Republican convention.”

A proposal to increase the number of officers the Capitol Police had initially planned to deploy to New York is “on the table,” Pickle said, adding that officials may also examine the types of technology used by the department this week.

Pickle declined to elaborate further, citing security concerns, and neither Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer nor House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood returned telephone calls seeking comment.

The Capitol Police declined to release statistics about its Boston security force prior to the convention but agency officials did reveal they deployed both the Dignitary Protection Division, which provides individual security details to Members of Congress, and uniformed officers — several of whom were visible Tuesday near the Boston Harbor Hotel, along with K-9 officers and a hazardous materials vehicle.

Pickle praised Capitol Police efforts thus far in Boston, where the agency is working along with scores of federal, state and local law enforcement organizations. The Homeland Security Department designated the convention a “National Special Security Event” and the Secret Service has coordinated security efforts.

“It’s working very well,” Pickle said, and later added: “A lot of planning and preparation went into sending people up here.”

By mid-Tuesday afternoon, Boston law-enforcement officials reported no large-scale disturbances and only one convention-related arrest.

“Things remain quiet,” Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole said Tuesday during her daily press conference outside the Boston Police headquarters.

Law enforcement officials had, however, responded to more than two dozen reports of suspicious packages — none of which produced hazardous materials or substances.

“We’ve had several false alarms, but false alarms aren’t a bad thing,” O’Toole said.

Law enforcement agencies responded Monday night to an apparent bomb threat in the Dorchester area of Boston, O’Toole confirmed. In that incident officers inspected a vehicle that was parked on an overpass but determined it did not contain a weapon and removed it from the area.

In addition, O’Toole said a Monday report that several parachutists had landed near the Fleet Center, including on the roof of a nearby federal building, also proved false after law enforcement officers swept the areas.

Despite the low occurrence of incidents, O’Toole defended the number of officers currently patrolling city streets, stating: “It’s absolutely necessary to have so many officers. … We need to err on the side of caution.”