Recently, I had an opportunity to travel to the 2015 Police Innovations Conference in Cambridge, MA. The organizers put together a great conference with some informative panels discussing cutting edge technology. I even had the opportunity to participate in two panels; one about public comments on social media platforms and the other about body worn cameras. However, one of the most interesting parts of the trip happened outside of the conference.
I had the good fortune to meet retired Chief Ed Deveau who recently retired from the Watertown Police Department. Chief Deveau now works for one of the vendors at the conference and I had the opportunity to get to know him at a reception one night. We swapped a lot of stories about our 30+ year careers. Chief Deveau then shared the story of the Boston Bombing and specifically the details about the gun battle his officers engaged in with the Tsarnaev brothers four days after the bombing. He shared the call he received in the middle of the night, his response and the heroic effort of his officers during the shooting as well as during the capture of Tamerlan.
Chief Deveau lives in Boston and we decided to continue our conversation over dinner the next night. We met downtown and began our walk toward a local restaurant. On the way, we stopped by the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Chief Deveau gave me a vivid account of the Boston Bombing from a local law enforcement perspective. Of course, I was glued to the television like everyone else when it happened but hearing the details from someone intimately familiar with the details was especially chilling.
As we walked down the street, I couldn’t help but think of the contrast between tonight and the chaos after the bombing and during the search for the Tsarnaev brothers. Tonight was a beautiful night in Boston and the streets were crowded with Bostonians enjoying their lives. People were smiling, laughing and generally having a good time.
We visited the exact site where both bombs were located and Chief Deveau shared several stories of heroism by victims, witnesses and first responders. His stories were truly representative of Boston Strong!
During dinner, Chief Deveaux told me how he was about to retire from his department when the bombing happened. After what his officers went through, he made a commitment to stay until the trial was over. Chief Deveaux kept that commitment. He attended each day of the trial and was happy to see Tamerlan Tsarnaev convicted.
As I said earlier, I enjoyed the conference. However, the highlight of the trip for me was getting to know Chief Deveau. After our dinner and conversation, I felt like I had known him for a long time.
Earlier this year, Chief Deveaux finally retired after keeping his promise.