Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau is testifying before the House Committee on Homeland Security. The following is is prepared statement:
Chairman McCaul it is an honor to come before the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.
I am extremely proud to be here today representing the men and women of the Watertown, Massachusetts Police Department. Our goal has always been to be the best police department in the state of Massachusetts.
Mr. Chairman, I had the privilege of meeting you and the other members of your distinguished committee when you traveled to Boston and Watertown. I want to thank you and your members who took the time to learn more about how the Watertown Police Department and the Watertown community responded to the events of last April.
Before I speak about the actions of the Watertown Police Department I would like to give you some background on the events of last year:
Patriot’s Day is a special day in Boston and my favorite weekend of the year. Businesses and schools are closed in Massachusetts so most people have the day off. Spectators line the 26 miles of the Boston Marathon from Hopkinton to Boston cheering on elite runners from all around the world, and the regular people, including so many that run for charities.
The Boston Red Sox play at 11 a.m. and after the game all the fans walk down to Kenmore Square to watch the final mile or two of the marathon. You haven’t lived in Boston very long if you haven’t been a spectator, volunteer, or a runner.
This year I will run with twelve of my officers, it will be an emotional moment when we cross the finish line on Boylston Street.
The Boston Marathon will be held in less than two weeks, and more people than ever want to be a part of it. They want to come together to celebrate and remember those who died and those who were injured in last year’s explosions. They want to remember Officer Sean Collier of the MIT Police Department who was ambushed and killed before the two brothers headed to Watertown.
We have all seen what occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 and Commissioner Ed Davis will speak about those tragic events and the Boston Police Department’s impressive response that day.
I am here today to talk about the events that occurred in Watertown in the early morning hours of April 19. That seemingly quiet overnight shift suddenly turned into a warzone. For the first time in America, police officers were attacked with guns and bombs and it happened on a quiet back street in my community. Those two brothers were trying to kill my police officers and had plans to kill and injure more innocent people.
The handful of Watertown officers on duty that night acted heroically and defended Watertown without regard for their own personal safety. They displayed courage and bravery as they stubbornly defended our community. Just as in Boston, my officers were at their very best when confronted with the biggest challenge of their careers. Their split second decisions and actions went far beyond their police academy training, but I can ensure you it will now be taught in police academies across the country. It has been said before Mr. Chairman, but as their Police Chief I want to state it again, the actions my officers took saved many more people from being killed and injured.
I want to introduce the officers that have accompanied Sergeant Pugliese and myself here today. Each of these officers played a key role in that historic gun battle on Laurel Street. Sergeant John MacLellan, officers Joseph Reynolds, Miguel Colon and Michael Comick.
Mr. Chairman, during those trying days last April two individuals attempted to strike fear and take down a city. They attempted to terrorize us all. In the end they accomplished nothing. What they will never know is that when America gets knocked down we pick ourselves up and become even stronger. We will not be intimidated. Watertown is stronger, Boston is stronger, and in my opinion the entire country is more united and stronger. The strength, resilience and defiance is what made Boston Strong and I know if an attack occurs in any city within our country they will respond in a similar way.
The Watertown police officers on duty that night stopped these evil brothers from leaving with their car full of weapons to carry out their next deadly plan. In the following 18 hours our entire department of 65 officers was tested and worked around the clock to keep our community safe. We received unprecedented support from surrounding police departments and federal agencies. As a result the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect was finally captured.
I want to thank the residents of Watertown for their patience and cooperation that day and for their continuing support. It truly took an entire community.
Mr. Chairman, when I began my comments today I mentioned our goal was to be the best police department in our state and I am not sure if we have accomplished that, but what I do know is that for eight and half minutes on a back street in Watertown we were the best police department in the world.
Mr. Chairman, I conclude my remarks and I am happy to try and answer any questions your Committee may have. Thank You.