Local response to Boston bombings: increased patrols

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 9:22 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 4:28 p.m.

Response from local law enforcement agencies to Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon was relatively muted Tuesday, with just the Gainesville Police Department taking any special precautions.

Municipal buildings, hospitals, Gainesville Regional Utilities and similar facilities were under increased patrol by GPD, said Officer Ben Tobias, the department's spokesman.

"We are increasing patrols and getting out on foot looking for anything suspicious," Tobias said. "In the wake of something like this, we don't want to have someone take advantage of us. We want to make sure we are ready for anything."

Two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon exploded Monday afternoon, killing three and injuring at least 170 runners and bystanders. Several North Central Florida residents ran the marathon.

Art Forgey, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, said the Sheriff's Office has not increased patrols or taken any precautionary measures.

The University of Florida Police Department also is not taking any precautionary measures at campus buildings or during events such as performances and sports events.

"There has not been anything at this point in time that has been initiated. We are always reviewing our current operational plans," UPD Maj. Brad Barber said. "At present, we have a very robust operational plan for any event that takes place on campus."

UF bans items such as large bags, fireworks and noisemakers such as air horns from sporting events. Police are at the gates to check bags and to look for other contraband.

Many of the UPD procedures were begun after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Gainesville Regional Airport spokeswoman Laura Aguiar said she is not aware of any security changes as a result of the Boston bombings.

"Of course, we remain concerned with everybody else about the event, but right now there are no changes at Gainesville Regional Airport regarding security," Aguiar said.

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