Police in Natick play it safe with Coptic church terror threat

| January 11, 2011

NATICK — As many as 60 police officers from surrounding communities helped protect St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church on Oak Street on Thursday, blocking off roads and stopping cars after the federal Department of Homeland Security sent a bulletin warning of a terrorism threat.

Several extremist websites posted threats to Coptic churches worldwide after a suicide bomber killed 23 people in Alexandria, Egypt, at a Coptic New Year's celebration. The threats made references to churches in the United States; St. Mark's was the only one of the three Coptic churches in Massachusetts mentioned by name, said Lt. Brian Lauzon, Natick's police operations commander.

Lauzon gave a presentation detailing the sequence of events to the Board of Selectmen at its meeting last night.

"We chose to be the sheep dog, and not the sheep," Lauzon said. "We chose to put together a force-protection plan, as we have always done, to protect our residents."

Lauzon said the police received a number of calls from people concerned about the massive police presence in the residential neighborhood. Police went door-to-door informing neighbors about the roadblocks, but the detours snarled traffic in a wide area around Oak Street.



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Category: Church Security

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