U.S. and Canada announce shared coastal law enforcement operations at Vancouver Olympics

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Federal Border Integrity Program, will launch the Olympic Shiprider pilot program in waters off the Pacific Northwest coast to enhance security operations during the 2010 Winter Games.

The Shiprider program will permit the U.S. and Canada to conduct cross-border integrated law enforcement operations in shared waterways during the Olympics. Marine law enforcement vessels will be jointly crewed by specially trained and designated U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officers authorized to enforce the law on both sides of the international maritime boundary, while respecting the sovereignty of both nations.

“The United States and Canada are committed to securing our shared waterways against threats on both sides of the border,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This pilot project will enhance coordination and information-sharing between our two countries and strengthen our joint efforts to protect our citizens and visitors from around the world during the 2010 Winter Games.”

Officers from U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies are required to undergo extensive training to participate in the Shiprider program. This training included completion of classroom seminars, case study scenarios, vessel training and familiarization with the criminal laws of both U.S. and Canadian respective domestic enforcement authorities and on-water operational procedures.

From Oct. 19-23, 2009, the Coast Guard and the RCMP conducted real-life scenario training as part of the Pegasus Guardian 3/Spartan Rings large-scale security exercise in preparation for the Vancouver Olympics. The training closely followed the Shiprider model that was piloted on shared waters during 2005 and 2007.

"The Olympic Shiprider program will build upon the success of the previous Shiprider program operations and will be deployed during the 2010 Games to complement domestic security operations," said Lt. Joshua Sagers, from the 13th Coast Guard District.

The Olympic Shiprider program along with other major border incidents will be coordinated and monitored out of the recently established Border Integrity Joint Operations Center in Surrey, British Columbia. The operations center allows the Coast Guard and RCMP to utilize the latest technology to coordinate joint operations between U.S. and Canadian law enforcement partners to secure the border.

“The operations centre will maintain the integrity of the Canada-U.S. border, whether land, air or marine, and also increase officer safety during operations,” says RCMP Superintendent Tom Jones, Officer in Charge of the Federal Border Integrity Program in British Columbia. “The operations centre is now fully operational and will remain so following the conclusion of the Games.”

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