Regional Partnerships: The Greater Boston Area’s Approach to Large-Scale Security

The U.S. Democratic National Convention (DNC) was scheduled to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, from July 26 to 29, 2004. It was the first time the national convention for either political party was held in this historical city, and it was the first political event of this magnitude that was held anywhere in the post-9/11 era. As Boston braced for the onslaught of delegates and tourists, reservations for hotels and restaurants began to book quickly. Simultaneously, the Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, U.S. Secret Service, and a number of other law enforcement agencies began to plan for the largest law enforcement mobilization in the history of the city.

An intricate part of the security plan included local officers from regional law enforcement councils (LECs). The two biggest councils were made up of communities to the north and to the south of Boston. The Northeast Merrimack Valley Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), founded in 1969, includes two sheriff departments and 59 cities and towns located north of Boston. The Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (Metro LEC), founded in 2003, has a membership of 44 cities and towns and two sheriff departments, all located south and west of Boston. Both councils have impressive SWAT, Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT), Mobile Operations (MOP), cybercrime units, and investigative capabilities. During the DNC, members from all of these units were mobilized to provide security at and around the event venue, conduct escorts for the delegates, and provide crowd control as needed.