Harbor Police Special Units and Task Forces
There are several specialized units and task forces within the Harbor Police Department which enhance the Department's role of being a provider of public safety. Some of these are extremely specialized with duties that extend beyond the Port's jurisdiction.
Investigations and Intelligence UnitInvestigations and Intelligence Unit
The Investigations and Intelligence Unit is composed of detectives who conduct follow-up investigations on arrests and crime reports. Detectives gather criminal intelligence, obtain search and arrest warrants and work closely with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, as well as member cities' attorney's offices. This department is also responsible for conducting background investigations on potential Port employees and police recruits.
Homeland Security Unit, Harbor Police Training Unit and Force Training UnitHomeland Security Unit, Harbor Police Training Unit and Force Training Unit
After the events of September 11, 2001, the Harbor Police implemented a Homeland Security Unit. This unit abides by the readiness and general security issues related to the Maritime Transportation Security Act. This unit works with other regional law enforcement and military partners to ensure that if there were an act of terrorism in San Diego Bay, sensitive locations would be kept safe and commerce would continue to flow. This unit also manages grant funding obtained through the Department of Homeland Security.
Harbor Police Training Unit
This unit coordinates all training between the Harbor Police Department and outside agencies and ensures that all officers receive the most advanced and cutting-edge training available.
Force Training Unit
The Force Training Unit oversees weapons training and firearms instruction, detective tactics and taser training. Each of these specialized sections are incorporated into Integrated Force Training, which educates officers in critical decision making and tactics.
Bay Control Officer and Mobile Field ForceBay Control Officer and Mobile Field Force
The Bay Control Officer manages all issues related to abandoned boats, sunken vessels, navigational hazards, impounding and storage of vessels and maritime-related crimes. This officer works closely with local, state and federal agencies and also communicates with the public, the media and Port tenants.
Mobile Field Force
The Harbor Police Department has a mobile field force which allows the department to assist other agencies in the region during an emergency or civil unrest event. Officers within this unit receive special training and equipment which allows them to be ready for any emergency situation. The Mobile Field Force may be activated by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department when a county-wide response is required.
Specialized Task Forces and Department Operations
Narcotics Task Force
The Harbor Police Department is a member of the Regional Narcotics Task Force. This task force's mission is to intercept narcotics and money being smuggled through the region's transit centers. Officers within this task force are federally sworn, giving them state and federal law enforcement authority.
Marine Task Force
The Marine Task Force is a Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement-based task force. This task force works to combat human smuggling as well as counter drugs, guns and money being transported illegally across the United States and Mexican maritime border. Officers within this task force are also federally sworn.
Joint Terrorism Task Force
The Joint Terrorism Task Force is a Federal Bureau of Investigations-based and operated task force. This task force is responsible for conducting assessments, investigations and field interviews of potential and known terrorist threats within the San Diego region. Officers assigned to this task force are also cross-sworn as federal officers.
Terrorism Liaison Officer
A Terrorism Liaison Officer is any peace officer, firefighter, investigator, federal agent, military investigations personnel, or anyone working closely with the Homeland Security community who has been properly certified by the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center. These officers serve as a conduit of information between members of the public safety community, public/private sectors and the U.S. government in the fight against terrorism.
The Harbor Police Department partners with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers and other federal, state and local agencies in Operation Stonegarden. The purpose of this detail is to prevent smuggling along the San Diego County coastline. The various agencies work together to patrol all bays, waterways, beaches and corresponding U.S. Border areas in this effort. This is a federally grant-funded operation that has resulted in numerous successful interdictions of maritime human and narcotics smuggling.
The Harbor Police Department has a Chaplain Program to assist employees or individuals with coping during traumatic and stressful situations encountered while serving the community. This program provides critical and spiritual support at serious incidents. Harbor Police Chaplains are trained according to California Police Officer Standards and Training Program to supplement their religious education and experience.
The Harbor Police Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dispatchers undergo state-mandated training, as well as additional in-house training that is specific to the role of the Harbor Police. Dispatchers respond to all types of law-enforcement calls, as well as fire emergencies, medical emergencies, environmental issues and maritime service requests.
In 2002, a Joint Harbor Operations Center was implemented. This center became a national and global model for communications. In the Center, Harbor Police dispatchers work closely with personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, California National Guard and Customs and Border Protection personnel. This system helps to facilitate information sharing and provides a timely response to potential incidents.