Rhose Island DEM Environmental Police Officers complete rigorous maritime security training program
PROVIDENCE - Nineteen environmental police officers from the Department of Environmental Management recently completed a rigorous law enforcement training course aimed at standardizing homeland security response efforts in the maritime environment.
The National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) developed the Tactical Operator Course in conjunction with the United States Coast Guard. The training is specifically targeted to local, state, and federal law enforcement officers assigned to waterborne response teams and marine units, as well as port security agencies and departments. The standardized training is designed to enable officers from the wide range of law enforcement agencies that respond to or are assigned to security events the ability to work cohesively together.
"DEM's environmental police force has a round-the-clock responsibility on the state's waterways," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "The lessons learned from this intensive training program will benefit our law enforcement officers as they work to protect Rhode Island's important port resources."
The five-day training session was sponsored by DEM's Division of Law Enforcement through a Port Security Grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security. Chief Steven Hall of DEM's Division of Law Enforcement credits DEM environmental police officers for pursuing the training program, which took over a year to plan. The majority of DEM law enforcement officers took part in the course, which was held at DEM's Marine Patrol Base in Wickford.
As part of the training, participating officers became familiar with interagency security coordination and the response required of agencies operating cooperatively within the maritime domain. They were instructed on methods used to identify threats to high-value assets and critical infrastructure within the port environment, and were required to demonstrate abilities necessary to properly use defensive and protective boat tactics.
"This course enhances the country's port security capabilities by providing the knowledge and skills necessary to appropriately react to threats in the maritime community," said Chief Hall. "Training included the same tactics, techniques, and procedures that the United States Coast Guard uses to train its boat operators. This will ensure seamless integration into security operations amongst federal, state, county, local and tribal maritime law enforcement officers and agencies."
On a regular basis, DEM environmental police officers are assigned to homeland security details such as LPG tanker escorts and maritime events such as visits by Tall Ships. They also patrol local waterway safety zones such as those related to the Jamestown and Sakonnet bridge demolitions. DEM officers have always been well-trained in maritime law enforcement through participation in programs offered by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glyco, Georgia and the United States Coast Guard. "The NASBLA tactical operator course training has furthered this specialized maritime training by preparing our officers to work even more efficiently on their own and in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies," Chief Hall noted.