Edgartown Police lent Boston a helping hand

Martha’s Vineyard police officers helped provide security at the Boston Marathon

Edgartown Police Detective Michael Snowden and Officer Jeffrey Trudel near Boston Common as part of the Marathon security team. — Photo courtesy of Edgartown Poli

Edgartown Police officers Mike Snowden and Jeffrey Trudel traded Main Street for Boylston Street Monday as part of the massive security detail assigned to the Boston Marathon.

The men joined a Boston Police mountain bike unit that patrolled an area from the race finish line to Kenmore Square. Their presence on Boston streets was part of continuing relationship that began in the early 90s when members of the Boston Police assisted Edgartown when known city gang members traveled to the Island.

Edgartown Police Chief Tony Bettencourt said that early relationship with a member of the Boston Police gang unit has endured. One of the officers is now a member of the command structure. Edgartown periodically sends officers to Boston where they have the opportunity to ride along with city police and receive valuable experience and training. Chief Bettencourt said Detective Snowden suggested asking Boston Police if Edgartown could help with Marathon security.

Officers Snowden and Trudel were invited to join Boston’s newly reformed bike unit. Earlier this month they were required to attend specialized training at the police training facility on Moon Island in Boston Harbor.

Detective Snowden said the time spent training in crowd control at Moon Island and listening to intelligence briefings was invaluable. “It opens your eyes up to the big picture,” he said. “They know that big things happen in small towns.”

On Sunday, the men traveled to Boston. They returned Tuesday morning.

“It was a different way to see the city,” Detective Snowden told The Times as he returned on the ferry. “We were honored to be allowed to participate and represent the town of Edgartown.”

“It was a great experience,” Officer Trudel said. “I never expected to see Boston from that perspective. It was like July in Edgartown.”

The bike unit rode across the finish line in advance of the elite runners to loud applause from the spectators.

“We staged up along the edge of the route to let the elite runners come through and where they assigned me was probably 20 yards from where the second bomb went off last year,” Mr. Trudel said. “It was kind of an eerie feeling standing there. Just to think back and look at the faces of the people, so unassuming and cheering on the crowd. I can’t imagine how that whole day unfolded.”

Chief Bettencourt said many people in the crowd called out to the officers when they saw the Edgartown Police name and thanked them for coming to all the way to Boston. He said it was a small effort to make to repay the Boston Police for their assistance over the years.

Last year, in the aftermath of the bombings, members of the Martha’s Vineyard Tactical Response Team helped support tactical police units as part of the response to the Boston Marathon bombing. The local officers were called to the Boston area to relieve law enforcement teams that had been working around the clock to investigate the bombings and provide security at the crime scene.