Boston Bombings: Police Presence in Southern California Increases

Officers with bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol Southland airports today and law enforcement agencies will beef up personnel at places where people assemble in large numbers amid a "heightened alert" triggered by the Boston marathon explosions.

Two explosions happened in quick succession near the finish line about two hours after the elite runners finished the 26.2-mile race, killing three people and wounding more than 100 others, some who lost limbs.

Across the Southland, additional security personnel has been dispatched to transit centers, and more officers are being deployed at public events. Last night's baseball game at Dodger Stadium, for instance, saw a marked increase in the number of uniformed officers on patrol in and around the venue.

"We have no information at this time that would indicate the events in Boston might have any connection to the Los Angeles area," Los Angeles police Officer Bruce 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."

Sheriff Lee Baca said his department has beefed up patrols in areas that might be deemed terrorist targets.

"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," he said. Baca said the department was working closely with other public safety agencies and had opened its internal Department Operations Center. The Los Angeles Police Department also activated its operations center.

At Los Angeles International Airport, travelers will see stepped-up security today.

"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, L.A./Ontario International, and Van Nuys airports by deploying bomb-detection canines, additional patrol officers and security personnel," according to a statement from Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates those facilities.

"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 has been stepped up at Metro facilities, including Union Station, with additional officers and K-9 units, according to Marc Littman, a spokesman for the transit agency.

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

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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 terrorist strikes of Sept. 11, 2001.

"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 entertainment magnets -- Disneyland, Angel Stadium, the Honda Center -- so authorities are always on guard, Moy said.

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, he said.


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