The Coast Guard and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts today announced the signing of a new partnership agreement that will help the Coast Guard and Massachusetts state law enforcement officers work together more effectively to ensure the safety and security of the Commonwealth's waters.
Under the terms of the agreement, approved last week by Rear Admiral Timothy Sullivan and Governor Mitt Romney, Massachusetts State Police and Environmental Police officers working with the Coast Guard have the authority to take enforcement actions against those suspected of violating federal safety and security zones created by the Coast Guard. The agreement also allows local police departments from any Massachusetts city or town that has resources available to enter into similar agreements with local Coast Guard commanders.
The Memorandum of Agreement incorporates recent changes to federal laws specifically targeted at strengthening the ability of state law enforcement officers to assist the Coast Guard. In the past, if a State Police trooper encountered a violation of a federal security zone, that officer would need to call the Coast Guard before enforcement action could be taken. State Police or Environmental Police officers subject to this agreement will now be able to take immediate action.
Coast Guard and Massachusetts law enforcement officers work collaboratively on a range of maritime missions, including tanker escorts, investigations of illegal fishing practices and marine theft cases. This agreement allows for more effective use of enforcement resources by giving state officers similar enforcement authority on the water as their Coast Guard counterparts.
"This agreement codifies the existing strong relationship between the Massachusetts State Police, the Environmental Police and the U.S. Coast Guard in order to provide a more seamless and efficient security presence along our coastline and around critical port infrastructure," said Governor Romney.
"With the Coast Guard's ever-increasing maritime security responsibilities we must continue reaching across traditional agency boundaries to make our Nation's maritime domain safe and secure," said Rear Adm
. Tim Sullivan, Commander, First Coast Guard District. "As lead agency for Maritime Homeland Security
, close cooperation with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level are critical to ensuring the security of the American people. This agreement further strengthens the close ties we have with the Massachusetts law enforcement community. Further, the possibility of bringing city and town marine units into this partnership adds significant capability and flexibility to the Coast Guard and the Commonwealth's overall resource mix."