Likewise, we can and should never forget that, in the end, it was rank-and-file Bostonians, New Englanders and especially a guy living in the heart of a Watertown neighborhood who helped track down these vicious killers, responding with countless tips after the FBI reached out for help with a video and photos showing the suspects, and a phone call that finally led police to the suspect when he was hiding in a boat stored behind a neighborhood home.
For all the understandable relief and downright exhilaration we all felt Friday night, we must remember that there are many questions still to be answered regarding these attacks, most notably how and why. And there are many lessons to be learned, as well, especially regarding complacency and vigilance.
But one of the most important lessons shining throughout this saga is the importance of a cooperative spirit between a community and its police force. Indeed, considering Watertown and other residents’ cooperation with an unprecedented, large-scale “shelter in place” order, and the tip that led to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture, this may be the ultimate example of what community policing can do.
True community policing can really be summed up in just a few words: a shared respect between police and residents, and one of community policing projects’ trademark lines: “If you see something, say something.”
Thank God, in this case, enough people did.