By Brian Messenger
---- — BOSTON — The call for police backup came within hours of the bombings and extended across the North Shore.
By early Monday evening, Merrimack Valley police officers were already in Boston and lending a hand in the aftermath of the explosions on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.
Local officers reported for duty as part of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), a consortium of law enforcement agencies in Essex and Middlesex counties.
Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon said his department received a service request Monday at 5:30 p.m., or less than three hours after two bombs were detonated. The blasts killed three people and injured more than 170 others.
“We sent everybody in,” said Solomon. “They were assigned as Boston needed them.”
Solomon said nine Methuen officers assisted local and state police until 11 p.m. Monday. They returned to the city yesterday for a 12-hour shift and were expected to patrol the streets as part of an increased police presence in the wake of the bombings.
“They’re working a lot of hours in a short time,” said Solomon. “It’s a crisis situation. That’s what’s expected.”
Solomon said Methuen police Sgt. Christian Max, a member of the NEMLEC SWAT team, also worked overnight Monday and was stationed with other SWAT members outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
NEMLEC is comprised of 53 local police departments and sheriffs agencies.
Andover police Lt. James Hashem said several town police officers and public safety dispatchers reported to Boston on Monday. Their work with NEMLEC continued yesterday, he said.
”We are operating in support of Boston police,” said Hashem. “As they need assistance, we’re sending it through NEMLEC.”
Haverhill deputy police Chief Donald Thompson said four city officers were working in Boston yesterday. North Andover sent two officers and Lawrence one, according to police officials in those communities.
Solomon said local police officers were expected to learn late last night if they would be called in for further duty today.