December 16, 2004

NJ State Police gets new boarding powers

New Jersey State Police Marine Patrol officers are to have the authority to stop and board vessels violating security zones created by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Rear Adm. David Pekoske, Commander, First Coast Guard District, Rear Adm. Sally Brice O'Hara, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District and New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey will formalize an important maritime security partnership at a signing ceremony today.

The partnership, known as a Memorandum of Agreement, allows Coast Guard law enforcement crews and New Jersey State Marine patrol officers to better work together to ensure the safety and security of New Jersey's waters and waterfront facilities, including those in the ports of New York/New Jersey and Philadelphia/Camden.

Under the terms of the agreement, New Jersey state officers, working with the Coast Guard, will have the authority to stop and board vessels and take enforcement action against persons violating Federal security zones created by the Coast Guard.

The Memorandum of Agreement will enhance a long-standing, strong relationship between the Coast Guard and the New Jersey State Police, and will allow for more effective use of enforcement resources in New Jersey.

The Memorandum of Agreement incorporates recent changes to both New Jersey and Federal laws specifically targeted at strengthening the ability for state enforcement officers to assist the Coast Guard.

This signing will be the second of its kind, and the first since Federal law was changed in August, 2004.Maine and the Coast Guard entered into a memorandum of agreement in April 2004.

"We're working across traditional agency boundaries to make America stronger in the maritime domain," said Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, Commander of the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area. "As lead agency for Maritime Homeland Security, we must rely on our law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level to ensure the safety of the American people. Working together like this just makes sense," she said.

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