The chief of police for a small Boston suburb that was the epicenter of a federal manhunt following the Boston Marathon bombings delivered a message of strength and support in his address at the Clinton School of Public Service on Wednesday.
Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau, who was in Little Rock as part of the school's lecture series, recounted the events of April 19 — when Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, brothers who just days earlier killed three people and injured hundreds more after planting and detonating two bombs made out of pressure cookers near the races' finish line, were chased through Watertown while attempting to flee the area.
Deveau told the Clinton School crowd of about 70 people that he couldn't discuss many details of the case as the investigation is ongoing. However, he lauded his officers and the community with praise Wednesday for their actions during the manhunt and shootout.
"We all in law enforcement, we train, train, train, train, but you never train for something like this," said Deveau, who has been with the Watertown Police Department for 30 years. "So, you know, you do the best you can and rely on your officers, law enforcement and your community. And everybody just stood up."
"The terrorists tried to put fear in our city and they failed miserably," Deveau said.
The Tsarneav brothers — Deveau said he refused to say their names because "they don't deserve it" — were cornered several times around Watertown during the overnight chase, which at one point led to a shootout that ended in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's death. Later, Dzhokhar was captured while hiding in a boat in the backyard of a residence.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awaiting trail in the case.
In total, 16 police officers were injured in the gunfight, and an officer with MIT campus police, Sean Collier, was shot and killed by the brothers in an earlier incident.
The 57-year-old Deveau also touched on Colliers' murder, which he called a "cowardly act" and added that increased security measures around Watertown and the Boston area are being discussed as a result of the attacks.
"Just to let people know that we're hardening targets and we're going to make it difficult for you to do something and get away with it," he said.
On the dais, Deveau said he really wanted to share the support he felt from the city of Boston during a dark time in the area.
"I just want to talk about what the role of the police department was, what Boston Strong means, how a community can come together and overcome things like this," Deveau said. "We didn't do it by ourselves; law enforcement wasn't alone, the Boston community really supported us and continues to do that — particularly the victims who still have a long way to recovery."