It’s taken a decade to make the transition, but North Charleston, S.C. is now home to the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Academy, consolidating operations that were moved from Virginia, California, and most recently, from Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Academy Commander Thomas Walsh:
"Bringing this boat course to Charleston is the capstone event in tying all law enforcement training under one roof."
Making use of the old Charleston Naval Base, the Coast Guard will begin pilot operations tomorrow, going fully operational the first of October.
The vessel pursuit program will use Zodiac-style training boats, mock gunshot rounds, and more; tactics that are used in boarding and disabling boats suspected of drug smuggling or human trafficking.
Intense training techniques will include identifying suspicious behavior or suspicious cargo on board boats as well as plotting course and speed of vessels suspected of possessing contraband.
In recent years, Coast Guard resources have been increasingly used for keeping illegal drugs from entering the United States.
These specially trained Coast Guardsmen will operate in “high threat” areas, including the Gulf of Mexico.
Examiner’s Note: Harbor cities, such as Charleston have local law enforcement, including fire departments, that use watercraft for patrols and rescue. Locally, the Department of Natural Resources also conducts search-and-rescue or recovery operations on harbor and coastal river waters. Coast Guard Sector Charleston patrols the Intracoastal Waterway and open waters.
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