ECPD to increase security for Women’s March


Photo by Anissa Gardizy / Beacon Staff

By Parker Purifoy, Emerson '21

The Emerson College Police Department plans to staff extra officers ensure campus safety during the third annual Boston Women’s March on Boston Common on Jan. 19, according to the police chief.

ECPD Chief Robert Smith said in an interview he is optimistic the day will go smoothly with officers patrolling campus and minimizing foot traffic in the Boylston Place alleyway. Smith said the college will not lock down the campus. A lockdown requires students to tap their college IDs to enter any Emerson building.

“We don’t want the event to be disruptive to the community, and we don’t think it has the potential to cause trouble,” Smith said. “These types of events tend to be fairly peaceful, and so we don’t see the need to lock the campus down.”

An estimated 175,000 people flooded Boston Common in January 2017 for the first Boston Women’s March. Two years later, Smith said organizers expect less than 10 percent of that number for the 2019 demonstration.

This year’s march is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The route will wind around Boston Public Gardens and down Commonwealth Avenue.

“[The march] shouldn’t affect the college in any negative way, and it’ll probably be a peaceful event—crowded one, but peaceful,” Smith said.

Deputy Chief Eric Schiazza said the department locked down the campus for events like the Boston Red Sox parade in October 2018 and the “Rally for the Republic” in November 2017.

Smith said the Red Sox parade warranted the lockdown because there were hundreds of people on the Boylston Street sidewalks, and the ECPD wanted to prevent attendees from entering campus buildings. The campus was shut down during the “Rally for the Republic” to prepare for a possible conflict between protestors and counter-protestors.

Smith said the Boston Women’s March presents neither of these issues since the route of the marchers will move away from campus.