D.C. police: Heightened security in effect after Boston blasts

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D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said heightened security plans initiated after a pair of blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon will remain in place until officials are “comfortable” there is no threat against the District.

“We do have a plan that we have in place to enhance security around the city,” she said. “We do that anytime there is an incident nationally or internationally until we have enough information to feel comfortable that there is no potential connection here in Washington, D.C., or a threat to Washington, D.C.”

Chief Lanier and Mayor Vincent C. Gray said at an evening news conference that they had no information indicating any threat against the District but were increasing security as a precaution. Similar steps were taken in cities across the country and worldwide, where police in Los Angeles, New York City and London, among others, stepped up security.

“We’re keenly aware of the potential consequences of these terrorist attacks,” Mr. Gray said.

City officials said they would not alter plans for Tuesday’s annual Emancipation Day holiday and downtown parade. Chief Lanier said spectators would see an increased police presence but she would not discuss security plans in detail.

The response comes after successive blasts went off less than a minute apart shortly before 3 p.m. near Boston’s Copley Square, resulting in at least two deaths and scores of injuries.

In the wake of the incident, Secret Service personnel pushed members of the public across the street from the White House into Lafayette Park, and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House — long closed to vehicles — was closed to pedestrian traffic.

Los Angeles police Lt. Andrew Neiman said the department was urging officers to be extra vigilant around large crowds and would increase security at sporting events such as the Los Angeles Dodgers game Monday night.

The department was also activating its emergency operations center to increase communication and increasing patrols for transit and other critical areas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

Agencies also stepped up social media response, telling the public via Twitter and Facebook to report suspicious activity to the police.

New York Police Department chief spokesman Paul Browne said Monday that critical response teams were deployed around the city, and officials were stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations.

Police at the three major Los Angeles-area airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, were in a “heightened state of vigilance,” with increased patrols to make it visible that more police were on duty, Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon said.

“We have no indications that suggest there’s a nexus from Boston to the Los Angeles airport, but in an overabundance of caution, we have heightened our patrols,” Chief Gannon said.

British police also said they were reviewing security plans for Sunday’s London Marathon. It’s the next major international marathon. A London Metropolitan Police spokesman said police are working with marathon officials to review security plans with an eye toward establishing a larger security presence.

 This article is based in part on wire service reports.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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