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Boston Marathon Security Will Be Changed Due To New York Subway Shooting, Ed Davis Says

BOSTON (CBS) -- Several people were hurt in a shooting and smoke bombing at a New York City subway station in Brooklyn Tuesday morning. According to CBS New York, as the doors of an incoming train opened, someone threw a smoke bomb onto the train and started shooting.

WBZ-TV Security Analyst and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis joined CBS News Boston to discuss whether the event will impact security for the Boston Marathon which is less than one week away:

Does this change the security preparations for the Boston Marathon? 

"It certainly does change the security posture of everything that's going on. From the moment something like this happens, police chiefs across the country put different systems in place and tactics that they utilize to do two things: one is to make sure that it doesn't happen in their jurisdiction. They will be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviors, they'll increase the number of officers who are in and around public transportation hubs, maybe even put people on some of the trains. There is a real reason for that in that there might be copycats or a larger conspiracy than just New York. It's unlikely but it's possible. But the larger issue here is to reassure the public that they are safe. That's really the role of the police at this point in time: show a strong presence out there and make sure that people feel that they can use subways and other transportation safely. Having the marathon so close in time, we'll definitely the plan, it will change the number of people assigned to the event. I'm sure there are people pulling together emergency meetings right now as we speak in light of this terrible incident that's happened in New York."

It's a reminder that if you see something, you should say something: 

"Without a doubt. The community can be force multipliers of the police in a situation like this. If anybody sees anything unusual they should report it to 911 immediately so that people can get on it. The fact that somebody used a gas mask in this attack, raising possibilities that are hard to even fathom but we need to look at exactly what happened there. Apparently, there was a smoke grenade thrown during the shooting. Why was that done? What effect did it have? Is there something else going on there besides smoke? There's a lot to be concerned about here. This is a very unusual attack, very audacious. Somebody has done something that is not only fatal possibly to the victims, shooting five people and injuring 13 others, but also just terrifying to the community. People need to know why this happened." 

What security measures are taken anyway? 

"Plans for the marathon security happen all year long. There are committees working together and after-action reports of what happened last year and how we can improve on that. All of the processes have been occurring. I had a conversation with Tom Grilk recently before he stepped down about the work that was being done around security and it's more comprehensive than it used to be because of what happened in the marathon attack. But right now, there are people pulling together groups to talk about exactly what can be done to lessen the threat that has raised itself as a result of this attack. There's no question there will be very specific plans put together, looking for someone that might be bent on this type of an incident, and hopefully, in the next 24 to 48 hours, with the video that's out there, there's a very intense and urgent investigation going on in New York right now. Looking at the video, drilling down into what's happening, trying to cut through the fog with all that occurs in a situation like this, false reports, extraneous statements that are made by people that aren't true. You get to the bottom of it and you make sure that you inform your partners in police departments across the nation, that's why the Boston Regional Intelligence Center is so important in a situation like this. They are a hub of information coming in from New York, they're going to get that information out to people in Boston to make them feel safe and to allow them to do their job. There's a lot going on right now behind the scenes. 

Are copycat attacks a concern? 

It's probably the biggest concern we have when something like this happens. There aren't too many multi-city conspiracies or nationwide plots against the government but what there are, are people that are living on the edge, especially with all the mental health problems that we're encountering after two years of COVID. It's a real concern that someone sees this on television and thinks that 'maybe I can make myself famous in this way,' that's the fear.  We have to be prepared for any eventuality, that one in particular. 

For the latest on the New York subway shooting, visit CBS New York.

You can watch live coverage of the 126th Boston Marathon on WBZ-TV and CBS on Monday, April 18, 2022.

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