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Profiles
Alumni Profile
Patrick Towle
2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner
A
fter a long Thursday in April,
2013 spent helping provide police
protection for President Barack Obama as
the officer-in-charge of the Northeastern
Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council
(NEMLEC) SWAT team, Bedford Police Sgt.
Patrick Towle had just settled in for a few
hour of sleep when his pager went off.
A police officer at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology had been shot and
killed by two suspects believed to be the men
wanted for setting off two bombs at the finish
line of the Boston Marathon three days prior.
Towle and his SWAT team were
being called back into action, this
time, dispatched to the community
of Watertown, where Watertown police of-
ficers were in the middle of a fierce firefight
during which explosive devices were being
thrown at them.
Towle, a member of the Bedford Police
Department since 1988, knew that he and
his partners in SWAT were heading into a
potentially deadly situation, but knew they
were trained and prepared
to face it.
For nearly 20 hours to follow, Towle
and the SWAT team were responsible for
conducting building-to-building searches in
Watertown, looking for one of the fugitive
bombing suspects.
Finally, after literally searching dozens of
homes in a grid-like manner throughout
Watertown, the team was given the order to
stand down, the search was being discontin-
ued, and a shelter-in-place order for several
communities was going to be lifted. Towle
and his team stopped to grab something
to eat at a canteen truck. They didn't get a
chance to even finish the meal, when they
and all the other law enforcement teams on
scene were told the fugitive had been located,
was pinned down in a boat, and that more
gunfire was being engaged.
Towle and the NEMLEC SWAT
immediately pressed into action again.
Because of the pending status of the legal
case against the bombing suspect, Towle is
not able to reveal much of the tactical details
about what he and his team did that night.
But it's because of his work as that
leader that Towle is receiving the nod
this year as the Middlesex Community
College Distinguished Alumni for 2014, an
award he'll receive on stage at this year's
commencement ceremonies at the Lowell
Memorial Auditorium.
Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, an
MCC alum himself (class of '90), said he
was proud to see Towle acknowledged for his
leadership role with SWAT and as an MCC
alum, and said the award was also a nod to
the work all the members of the NEMLEC
SWAT team performed that week.
"The NEMLEC SWAT unit was there from
Monday through Friday of that historic week,
working as one, and proudly representing
the 57 cities and towns that comprise the
NEMLEC region," Bongiorno said. "Their
work in those five days is immeasurable, and
I'm proud to say that Pat represented Bedford
well in that crisis."
Bongiorno said Towle is a "consummate
leader," who inspires those he works
alongside, because he's always ready to do
the same tasks that he asks of others. "Pat is
respected and followed, and exemplifies what
you want from a leader. He will rise to what-
ever occasion he is faced with, but he always
does it in a manner that is professional and
with the greater interest of public safety as
his focus."
Dennis Malvers, the Dean of Advancement
at MCC, said the college was honored to rec-
ognize Towle not just for his work during last
year's Boston Marathon and aftermath, but
his ongoing commitment to public safety.
"Each year, we consider so many remarkable
alumni in our search for the perfect person
to receive our Distinguished Alumni Award,
which is presented annually to an alum who
demonstrates achievement in his or her
careers, exception service to their community,
commitment to Middlesex, as well as integrity
and character," Malvers said. "Sgt. Towle is
clearly deserving of this recognition for so
many of those reasons."
"Sgt. Towle is respected and followed, and
exemplifies what you want from a leader.
He will rise to whatever occasion he is faced
with, but he always does it in a manner that is
professional and with the greater interest
of public safety as his focus."
Robert Bongiorno
Bedford Police Chief