GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 17, 2013

Gloucester K9 unit on Boston duty

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — After two bombs rocked Monday’s Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170, Gloucester joined cities and towns statewide in stepping up its guard, while also contributing to investigations in the shaken city by shipping a K-9 officer and his police dog to Boston.

Police Chief Leonard Campanello emphasized Tuesday that Gloucester received no threats or alerts, but police bumped up patrols and checked frequently on the city’s two Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) commuter rail stations, on Railroad Avenue and in West Gloucester.

“We added two patrols last night only to be attentive,” Campanello said Tuesday. “We had no credible threats — no threats at all — or alerts.”

Because the Gloucester Police Department participates as a member of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, a regional cooperative of police departments abbreviated to NEMLEC, K-9 Officer Chris Genovese deployed to Boston late Monday night with his K-9 dog, Mako. The pair will work in the city for the next few days, according to Campanello.

“It’s good that we’re assisting,” Campanello said.

The MBTA, meanwhile, had requested Gloucester police officers check on the train stations as MBTA employees performed a sweep of railroad tracks along each of the commuter rail lines, including into and through the tracks of Cape Ann.

Police responding to calls from residents had found “several” MBTA workers surveying the tracks with bobbing flashlights late Monday night.

Police also boarded a police boat Monday night to perform a sweeping check of Gloucester’s harbor and waterfront.

Though Coast Guard Station Gloucester had all four of their boats at the ready to respond to any cues Monday and Tuesday, BM2 Thomas Moen said, the guard received no alerts.

“We did work with the local police department; hey had dropped their harbor boat, and we had our second boat dropped in in case we needed to respond to anything,” Moen said. The Coast Guard’s cutter Grand Isle, usually based in Gloucester, was also deployed to Boston.

Seven Cape Ann runners had finished the race and 16 were still running the course when the two bombs exploded about 3 p.m. Monday, spraying shrapnel, scattering debris and killing at least three spectators while injuring more than 170 others. Almost all of Cape Ann’s runners have been confirmed safe or uninjured, and there were, as of Tuesday night, no reports of any Cape Ann residents being injured at the scene.

People throughout the region Tuesday, however, mourned the loss of an 8-year-old Dorcester boy named Martin William Richard, a 29-year-old Medford woman named Krystle M. Campbell, and a Boston University graduate student whose identity police have yet to release — the three victims of the marathon bomber or bombers.

With many people across Cape Ann — like elsewhere — still coming to grips with what the FBI declared Tuesday to be a terrorist act, a number of spiritual centers are hosting services and open church hours for people searching for inner peace in the wake of the trauma.

The Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport was open through the day Tuesday, providing a place for people to meditate and collect their thoughts in the wake of the Boston explosions.

The St. Paul Lutheran Church will hold an interfaith prayer service in response to the Boston Marathon tragedy tonight at 7 p.m.

And the First Congregational Church of Christ in Rockport will also open its doors tonight at 7 p.m., with a prayer service and other chances for residents or visitors to seek peace and healing.

“We’ll have some guided prayer, and we may sing some songs of peace,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Derek van Gulden. “I just think it’s important to provide a place for people to come in and share as a community.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.