Bill Bratton- How We Will Find the Boston Killer(s)

Bill Bratton- How We Will Find the Boston Killer(s)

I am confident that the culprits behind the atrocity on Monday will be identified and apprehended. -Bill Bratton

Note: I pulled this post together yesterday (for publication this morning) before the events overnight; one police officer dead, another crtically wounded, “Suspect #1” dead, and Supect #2 hiding under a rock somehwere.  Keep in mind that these two suspects may be part of a larger group.  Vigilance! 

Bill Bratton started as a beat cop in Boston, rose to Police Commissioner there and with the N.Y.P.D.  The man knows policing and law enforcement investigative techniques.  The following commentary is from an Opinion piece he did for the Wall Street Journal. William Bratton: A Cop’s-Eye View of Terrorism 4/17/13  In my humble opinion, we would do better to listen to professionals “cops” like Bill Bratton, as opposed to all the “experts” who suddenly crawl out of the woodwork and onto our television screens and who happen to have books to plug.  The man knows of what he speaks.

As far as we’ve come since 9/11… it is an impossible dream to think we can prevent every act of terror. That is a goal worth striving for, but some plots won’t be deterred or foiled. So it was in Boston this week.

The primary task for law enforcement after such an attack is to identify the perpetrator(s), apprehend them, and examine whether this attack was a one-off or the first in a series.

A major part of this investigation will be sorting through the photographs and video that police have requested from the public. The deluge may test the capacity of law enforcement to catalog and analyze so much material, but crucial clues are likely hiding in the digital files of marathon-goers who were unfortunate enough to be near Monday’s explosions.

The past few days have also vindicated the sort of heightened preparedness emphasized by security and health officials since 9/11.

Such preparedness is so important because a democratic society simply cannot secure all venues and events at all times.  There is no ability to cordon off a whole marathon route and treat miles of urban streets with the degree of security at, say, a baseball stadium. It is impossible to secure everything.

Back in Boston, finding those responsible for Monday’s grim spectacle will require authorities to investigate with precision but without tunnel vision. According to the public record, at least, there seems no reason yet to disqualify any class of suspects—from al Qaeda types to neo-Nazis, antigovernment fanatics in the mold of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and others.

Most important for law enforcement is to keep an open mind and follow the evidence wherever it leads. The public should be prepared for more false or misleading news reports like those on Wednesday announcing an arrest in the case. Ultimately it may take days, it may take years, but I am confident that the culprits behind the atrocity on Monday will be identified and apprehended. (block quote credit William J. Bratton WSJ 4/17/13)

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