“Unprecedented resources” are being used to keep today’s Boston Marathon safe, says Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). With 36,000 runners and a million spectators spread over the 26.2-mile marathon route, safety is a herculean undertaking. But soon after last year’s race, when three were killed and nearly 300 injured by bombs placed near the finish line, MEMA began a massive collaboration with federal, state, and local officials to design a public safety strategy to protect this year’s race.
Among the new security measures: doubling the number of law enforcement personnel to about 3,500 and using phalanxes of bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors, and security cameras. A SWAT team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on hand. In addition to banning firearms and explosives, officials have banned baby strollers, among other things, from the marathon area. And spectators were discouraged from bringing items such as coolers and backpacks, which were searched at various entry checkpoints.