When bombs went off at the Boston Marathon on April 15, three people, one an 8-year-old boy, were tragically killed and over 160 were wounded. As a result, there was an urgent need for a national emergency response of the federal government, Massachusetts state government, and local officials in Boston and surrounding cities.
Almost immediately, a manhunt started that stretched from Boston, Mass., to the Russian country of Chechnya that required immediate collaboration and cooperation among authorities. A national security team was formed to identify the suspects, track them down, arrest them and hold them for justice.
The emergency response team that managed the Boston Marathon bombings crisis should serve as a national role model for cooperation among federal, state and local officials. As a result of the collaborative efforts of President Obama, Gov. Deval Patrick and Attorney General Eric Holder the Tsarnaev brothers were tracked down—one brother was killed and the other—Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—was placed in custody.
President Obama, Patrick and Holder provided timely and diligent oversight to the nation’s emergency response during a domestic terrorism bombing that shook the nation.
This cooperation was critical during an era when federal, state and local cooperation is often complex and strained on a number of fronts, including healthcare, gun control and immigration reform. Instead of dispute and disagreement, these three senior government officials established a seamless and effective emergency response team—to the benefit of the citizens of the United States.
Obama, who is constantly plagued with critics and disbelievers, boldly led the national security team from the White House. His steady hand reassured the American public that he was informed about every aspect of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.
Early in the crisis, President Obama pledged complete federal support to the citizens of Massachusetts and promised the suspects would be found—and they were. And, while the manhunt was in progress President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended an Interfaith Memorial Service in Boston and demonstrated their willingness to personally stand with the citizens of Massachusetts during a terrible crisis.
The second official who was an essential part of the Boston Marathon national security emergency response team was Patrick. A close ally and friend of President Obama, the governor mobilized a strategic state and local law enforcement effort that worked lockstep with federal officials. He provided on-the-scene leadership through regular press conferences and worked with the FBI, CIA, U.S. Department of Justice, Interpol, local police chiefs and numerous federal, state and local officials. To viewers watching the dramatic events unfold in Massachusetts, it was evident that Patrick commanded the respect of all of the law enforcement officials.
After the Tsarnaev brothers were tracked down and one was killed and the other captured live, Holder, assumed responsibility as the chief law enforcement official in the nation. As head of the Justice Department Holder provided oversight over the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
These three African American leaders have earned the confidence of the American people. Their leadership and collaboration was an example of calm, organized federal, state and local collaboration that can serve as a model for leaders in America, and throughout the world.