Coast Guard Conducts Interagency Law Enforcement Training in Chicago

CHICAGO – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago conducted interagency law enforcement training with a group of local and federal agency partners on March 26.

The training focused on commercial vessel orientation and included time aboard the deep draft vessel St. Mary’s Challenger, a 530-foot freight ship, at the Illinois International Port in south Chicago.

This event was a follow-on to training previously conducted on the Illinois River system aboard a barge and recreational vessel in October of 2007. Commander Paul Mehler III, Marine Safety Unit Chicago’s Commanding Officer, saw a need for this training in order to better prepare first responders along the Chicago lakefront and river system, and to achieve a higher level of readiness to collectively respond to criminal activities on the waterways.

MSU Chicago kicked-off the training in close coordination with Customs and Border Protection by discussing safety considerations and vessel configuration, including nomenclature and terminology. The joint team then conducted a mock boarding, including a review of documentation and a sweep of the vessel spaces. Much discussion revolved around plausible scenarios and agency response capabilities.

Ensign Jerry Federer, the unit’s lead Boarding Officer, headed up the training, while an industry representative from the vessel, Mr. Kevin Rogers, provided the industry expertise and in depth knowledge of the vessel.

“This was a great opportunity to improve our response posture and strengthen our coordinated efforts in the greater Chicago area,” said Ensign Jerry Federer. “We’ve paved the way for cohesive joint operations.”

Representatives from the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection, Chicago Police Marine and Helicopter Unit along with Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor were in attendance to board and become familiar with the outlay and arrangements of a typical vessel that transits the Chicago lakefront.

Future training sessions will be expanded to include more in depth tactical procedures and simulation scenarios.

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