Boston Bombings: Police on Heightened Alert in Southern California

Southland law enforcement officials were on heightened alert today as they monitored the probe into bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed two people and injured dozens more, with additional security dispatched to transit centers and more officers expected at tonight's Dodger game.

"While the cause of the explosions this morning at the Boston Marathon are still under investigation, our vigilance has been raised," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said. "The heightened alert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence where people congregate, such as government buildings, shopping centers, athletics events, and public transit."

Los Angeles police Officer Bruce Borihanh said the LAPD "will also be increasing the security in and around the Dodger game scheduled for later this afternoon." The Dodgers will take on the San Diego Padres at 7 p.m.

"We have no information at this time that would indicate the events in Boston might have any connection to the Los Angeles area," Borihanh said. "Our response has been implemented to reassure our public that we understand how incidents like those in Boston can cause concern here in our city."

Baca said the department was working closely with other public safety agencies, although officials said the Los Angeles County Emergency Operations Center had not yet been activated. Baca said the the LASD had opened its internal Department Operations Center. The LAPD also activated its own operations center.

Travelers will also see stepped-up security at Los Angeles International Airport.

"While there is no information to suggest that there is any nexus to the Los Angeles area, in an abundance of caution, Airport Police has increased its presence at LAX, LA/Ontario International, and Van Nuys airports by deploying bomb-detection canines, additional patrol officers and seucirty personnel," according to a statement from Los Angeles World Airports. "Airport Police will continue to work closely with its local and federal law enforcement partners to ensure the safe and secure operations of LAWA's airports and encourages the traveling public to remain vigilant and to notify police if they observe any suspicious behavior or items."

Officials at the Port of Los Angeles were also under a heightened state of alert.

"At this point, we don't believe there is a threat to any of the San Pedro bay port complex, but we have enhanced our security profile," port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. "We are watching things closely.

"... Multiple layers of agencies down at the port are always working together. This kicks it in to next level."

Security was stepped up at Metro facilities, including Union Station, with additional officers and K-9 units, according to Marc Littman, a spokesman for the transportation agency.

"There is a heightened police presence," Littman said.

He said there was no disruption to any service, but passengers will see more officers on patrol. As usual, Littman urged passengers to report any suspicious activities on buses and trains or at stations.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said city officials were remaining vigilant in the aftermath of the explosions.

"We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to monitor the situation and stand ready to aid Boston in any way possible," he said. "The LAPD and other public safety agencies will remain vigilant at all public and sporting events in Los Angeles."

In Orange County, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said deputies would "have an increased presence at local sporting/entertainment venues and other large gathering places."

She also said the department was working with event organizers to review safety protocols, "as well as ensuring our first responders are properly equipped with necessary resources should a similar incident occur."

Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Tim Moy, who is assigned to the Homeland Security division, said he was confident there was no link to the Southland based on information he has received from the national networking of law enforcement that developed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"We believe it's isolated," Moy said.

The feedback Moy has gotten from law enforcement on the East Coast is why "we feel very confident it's isolated to Boston."

Still, sheriff's deputies will maintain "high visibility" in the area to calm any fears at large gatherings, Moy said.

Orange County has a number of notable gathering points for entertainment such as Disneyland, Angel Stadium, and the Honda Center, so authorities are always on guard, Moy said.

"Anaheim does an outstanding job with that," Moy said. "And we work with Anaheim very closely. We have a great partnership with Anaheim."

Anyone going to an Anaheim Ducks or Angels game "should expect to see someone in blue or green nearby," Moy said. "We want to be proactive, not reactive."

Authorities were also on heightened alert at John Wayne Airport, Moy said.

This post has been updated throughout the day to provide more details.

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City News Service is an independent wire service that serves Los Angeles area news outlets. Posts identifying them in a byline means KCET-TV has used their story, either in full or close to full.
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