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State police head discusses Western MA manhunt contributions

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FRAMINGHAM, MA (WHSM) -

Col. Timothy Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, is a Western Mass resident. Thursday, he met with media from our area.

"We all belong to chief of police associations in both Eastern and Western Massachusetts," said Alben. "So when we get into situations like this, there are no introductions necessary."

Alben said that familiarity statewide is a big reason so many different agencies were able to work together to track down the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

While state troopers from Western Mass were called in to help, the Pioneer Valley's response did not stop there.

"The day of the bombing on Monday, I saw a Holyoke police cruiser in downtown Boston, just outside of locked down areas," Alben stated. "So that was nice to know that they were there and represented."

The Valley's skills were not limited to the ground.

On the Friday night that Dzokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat, a crew based out of Western Mass were the ones in the air, flying the state police helicopter.

"Usually there is one crew working on a particular shift," said Alben. "To come out here from Westover to look for a missing person, or a lost child, or an apprehension in a crime is not uncommon."

Alben, who took over control of the state police less than a year ago, said things remained calm inside the investigation's command center, despite trying to process so much information.

"It was a roller coaster of emotions," said Alben. "It was up and down all of the time. You are constantly tasking people out to investigate new leads, or a call that might have come in, a sighting that may have come in and rapidly trying to deal with that."

Alben said they have already had discussions planning for the marathon next year.

However, the next big event on the state police agenda will be the annual Fourth of July celebration in Boston.

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