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Enhanced Port Homeland Security Measures Launched by Sheriff
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced unique new port protection measures today. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department unveiled sophisticated new equipment that will enhance and expand the pre-port entry screening program. The equipment includes a 55 foot ocean going vessel, radiation detecting aircraft and a specially trained canine.
The screening vessel, which is the first of its kind in the world, is equipped with the most advanced technology currently available to protect the region. It is equipped with highly advanced radiation and chemical biological detection equipment, which allows deputies to remotely screen entire ships for WMD materials while they are underway to the port complex. The detection equipment transmits data real time to the Sheriff’s Department HAZMAT Detail headquarters for further interpretation. The vessel is also equipped with an advanced sonar system, and an integrated commercial grade remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) capable of depths of up to 3000 feet. The ROV is equipped to remotely search ship hulls for improvised explosive devices and to remove or disarm them. The sonar can detect underwater threats in zero visibility waters.
Deployed on the screening vessel is a newly acquired canine. The canine is trained to detect the chemical and biological components that are used to create chemical and biological weapons. This is the only Canine with this capability in the U.S.
Additionally, a Eurocopter AS350B2 helicopter has been equipped with an advanced radiation detection pod that allows for remote screening of ships for radioactive materials while flying over ships.
The Port Complex is one of the most critical infrastructures in the United States. It is the largest and the busiest container port in the U.S. with 40 percent of all U.S. imports coming through the port complex. It is estimated that it would cost the U.S. economy one billion dollars a day if the port complex was shut down by an incident.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department focuses on deterring, detecting and stopping potential threats before they have an opportunity to enter the port complex and surrounding heavily populated areas. In conjunction with the United States Coast Guard, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department operates a program that sends boarding teams off-shore on Sheriff’s Department vessels to stop and search a sampling of ships bound for the port complex. Using portable detection equipment, explosives experts, special weapons team members and explosive detection dogs, the boarding teams inspect ships for conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, to include radiological and chemical/biological devices and precursors. Once the ships have been inspected they are cleared to enter the port complex, where additional security measures are in place by port security officials.
Combined, the deployment of these additional resources will greatly enhance the security of the port complex and the region and continue to make them the safest in the world.
Photos and video of the newly deployed equipment is available by contacting Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau at (323) 526-5541.