By Brian Messenger
---- — The hours are long and the work extremely dangerous, but local police officers remained eager yesterday to assist in the manhunt for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“Our people were volunteering to go,” said Lawrence police Chief John Romero. “They just wanted to get down there and help their fellow officers.”
The Lawrence Police Department sent its 14-member SWAT team to the Boston area yesterday along with 10 detectives and special operations officers. The department also drove down an armored vehicle to assist with the investigation.
Other area departments sent down back-up through the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), a consortium of 53 local police departments and sheriffs agencies in Essex and Middlesex counties.
The first members of NEMLEC arrived to provide assistance Monday evening, just hours after two bombs rocked Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others.
Methuen sent 10 officers through NEMLEC. Yesterday, police Chief Joseph Solomon said the officers were tasked with performing door-to-door searches in Watertown, where a violent standoff between police and the bombing suspects erupted late Thursday.
That’s when officials said bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was fatally injured. His younger brother and fellow bombing suspect Dzhokhar, 19, remained at large for 19 hours yesterday until he was discovered hiding in a boat located in the backyard of a Watertown home.
Solomon said Methuen’s officers were called in to assist at 1:15 a.m. yesterday after three consecutive days working 12-hour shifts.
“They’re tired, but it’s not affecting their motivation,” said Solomon. “There’s not a cop on scene that wants to leave.”
It is unclear how many officers from Andover and Haverhill provided support. Andover police Lt. James Hashem said an unspecified number of officers were in the Boston area yesterday. Haverhill sent four officers Monday but a call to city police yesterday was not returned.
In North Andover, police Chief Paul Gallagher said three officers were called in along with an explosive-sniffing dog.
“What happened there was devastating for the whole area,” said Gallagher. “We’re all there to help.”