MEMA lays out heightened security plans ahead of Boston Marathon - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

MEMA lays out heightened security plans ahead of Boston Marathon

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Public safety officials with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency announced new detailed security plans for this year's Boston Marathon at a press conference in Framingham Monday morning.

At least 3,500 police officers will spread across the eight cities and towns that make up the marathon route this year. That is double the number from last year. This is to protect the additional 9,000 runners who will participate in the marathon on April 21.

No backpacks, bulky items, coolers, costumes, masks or bottles larger than a liter will be allowed at this year's marathon.

"These new rules both enhance security and help manage the logistics of a race with 9,000 more runners," said Kurt Schwartz, director of MEMA.

Authorities have been meeting since late last summer to decide how to best secure the race this year following last year's deadly bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 near the finish line.

"We're encouraging people to come down ... The mayor and the police commissioner have asked people to come down to Boylston Street to come to the businesses down there and show your support for the marathon runners," said Lt. William Ridge, deputy superintendent of the bureau of field services. 

Additional video surveillance will be in place to protect the more than 1 million spectators and 36,000 runners.

"Only participants with official bibs should be on the course," Schwartz said.

Schwartz is asking all runners and spectators to remain vigilent.

"We are promoting the simple slogan, 'If you see something, say something,'" he said. 

Local, state and federal law enforcement will be present at the race, some in uniform others in plain clothes, to ensure the safety of all participants.

"We also want to do our part in supporting the resilience that we all have come to know as Boston strong," Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association Thomas Grilk said. 

The goal of this year's security plan is to preserve the character of the Boston Marathon.

"We are confident that the overall experience of runners and spectators will not be impacted and that all will enjoy a fun, festive, family oriented day," Schwartz said. 

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