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BUPD Chief, students proud of officers’ efforts during Watertown manhunt

The Boston University Police Department worked with other law enforcement agencies after the MIT shooting and assisted in the manhunt for suspects in Watertown in addition to maintaining campus security. PHOTO BY TAYLOR HARTZ/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University Police Department worked with other law enforcement agencies after the MIT shooting and assisted in the manhunt for suspects in Watertown in addition to maintaining campus security. PHOTO BY TAYLOR HARTZ/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

When chaos broke out the night of April 18 and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department officer was killed, several Boston University PD officers responded quickly to aid other Boston law enforcement agencies, officials said.

BUPD Chief Thomas Robbins said when the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department officer Sean Collier late at night on April 18, BUPD officers immediately offered support.

“We had officers from BU head over directly to MIT and see if there was something we could do to assist them in whatever their needs were,” Robbins said. “… From there, events unfolded very quickly.”

When BUPD officers received reports of a carjacking on Memorial Drive, patrols already at MIT continued on to become part of the police chase that ensued from Cambridge to Watertown in search of the two suspects, Robbins said.

Robbins said BUPD officers jumped into action when they realized the severity of the incident and that more help was needed at the scene.

“The great thing about this department is once the word spread — which it always spreads quickly — of the unfortunate officer’s death, the [BUPD] officers self-reported,” he said.

Robbins said because some BUPD officers volunteered to assist in the response to MIT and subsequent manhunt, the department was able to balance maintaining support in the BU community with aiding other law enforcement officers in Watertown.

As officials initiated a citywide stay-inside request, officers responding to situations off-campus gradually reported back to BU, Robbins said.

“Our community responded,” he said. “We put out the shelter-in-place and alerts out, and they [the BU community] handled themselves very well.”

BUPD Captain Robert Molloy said the department had a staff of around 15 officers during the span from the shooting to the conclusion of the manhunt.

“It’s a huge incident, and it’s been a huge impact on all police agencies in this area and continues to be,” he said.

The chaotic situation required the resources of various Boston agencies, Molloy said.

“We’re fortunate to be working in an area where we have such a great response by local law enforcement with these things,” he said. “We hope to continue the great relationship we have with all the local agencies around here in running the Boston University community.”

Robbins said he is proud of the men and women of his department.

“Our officers responded in a professional manner,” he said. “They comported themselves very well for assistance in a very difficult situation.”

BUPD officials have continued to maintain an informational network with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure students’ safety even after one suspect was killed and one was arrested, Robbins said.

“I would advise the community that the message stays the same,” he said. “If you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary or a suspicious package, the first thing you should do is call the police department.”

College of Arts and Sciences junior Morgan Corner said she noticed BUPD’s presence on campus Thursday and Friday.

“I heard police cars flying by, and I could see them, some of them with ‘Boston University’ [written] on them,” she said. “… I think they handled it very professionally. They did a great job.”

College of General Studies sophomore Marlene Stoute, however, said BUPD could have had a greater presence on campus during the ordeal. Stoute, who lives on West Campus, was at a friend’s room in Student Village II Thursday night.

“Weird and horrible events were piling up,” she said. “… We saw all of BUPD in action from StuVi [II]. I didn’t feel safe at all. I had to sleep over. I couldn’t walk 300 meters to my dorm.”

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