Police seek security balance for Boston Marathon

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Along the route, there will be more surveillance cameras and more police, including 400 armed military police from the National Guard, an unspecified number of undercover officers and hundreds more uniformed officers. Security will be especially tight at the start of the race in Hopkinton and at the finish line, where the largest crowds gather.

Police have gone out of state for special training on how to detect hidden explosives and to look for characteristics of someone who might be carrying a bomb.

“Spectators should expect that they may be channeled through security screening points at different places as they get closer to the course,” said Kurt Schwartz, director of the state Emergency Management Agency.

Police in each of the eight cities and towns along the course have been beefing up their own security plans and coordinating efforts with one another.

In Hopkinton, town officials are scrutinizing vendors more carefully. When they realized that some have sold toy guns in past years, they banned their sale.

“We just felt that in this atmosphere, for this event, it was not appropriate,” said John Mosher, chairman of Hopkinton’s board of selectmen.

In Ashland, police are trying to strike a balance between safety and maintaining the closeness residents have with the runners.

“It’s an open event, so I think it would be impractical to tell people who are standing on the roadway in front of their houses that they can’t have a backpack or container on their front lawn,” said Police Chief Craig Davis. “There’s obviously going to be enhanced security, checking, examining those areas and containers.”

In Wellesley, the marathon’s halfway point, police will have more officers along the course, but they don’t plan to try to stop a favorite marathon tradition: a line of Wellesley College students kissing and hugging runners.

“We’re not planning on raining on their parade at all,” said Deputy Police Chief Jack Pilecki. “We just want to keep them safe - and everyone else.”

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