Port Continues to Strengthen Security
Big investments in training and technology
September 11, 2012
More than a decade since 9/11, security continues to be a high priority at the Port of Long Beach. The Port is a major national asset that moves $155 billion worth of goods a year and supports 1.4 million jobs nationwide. The Port continues to upgrade security systems to protect the nation’s busiest harbor complex.
The latest Port security initiatives include:
- Virtual Port System – The Port is implementing a comprehensive geographic information system that will gather surveillance data and provide a complete and detailed picture of the Port domain. Real-time data – collected by a state-of-the-art system that includes more than 130 high-resolution cameras throughout the harbor – will be shared with partner law enforcement agencies to support daily operations and quick response to incidents.
- Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) System – This high-energy mobile scanning technology operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a new tool that allows federal inspectors assigned to the Port to inspect high-risk cargo, detect weapons and explosives, and stop the flow of contraband. Akin to an X-ray device on wheels, the NII system can penetrate 12 inches of steel and allow officers to inspect containers without opening them.
- First Responder Preparedness – Training and rescue-and-recovery exercises are routine for Port personnel and partner agencies, and the Port continues to add more. In recent months, Harbor Patrol officers have been learning how to inspect infrastructure – including roads, bridges and wharves – to quickly determine what structures are safe in the event of a major earthquake or other disaster. The Harbor Patrol Commercial Dive Unit and the Long Beach Police Department’s Dive Team conduct training exercises on a regular basis to sharpen their skills and strengthen emergency response. Port divers recently participated in a multiagency simulation at Universal Studios, and LBPD divers recently practiced search-and-rescue maneuvers that involved jumping from a helicopter into Port waters.
- Maritime Domain Awareness Enhancement Project – In collaboration with the Port of Los Angeles and the Marine Exchange of Southern California, the Port of Long Beach is investing in new vessel traffic management equipment with cutting-edge radar and tracking systems. The system will improve small boat detection, harbor navigation and operations throughout the harbor complex.
- New Fire Stations and Fireboats – The Port is modernizing two fire stations and acquiring two high-tech fireboats. The Port has secured an $18 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security for the design and purchase of one of the fireboats.
- Enhanced Underwater Inspection Technology – In August, the Long Beach Police Department acquired new 3-D sonar technology for underwater inspection of the Port’s 10 piers, 80 berths and other infrastructure. This security tool also will be used for preventive maintenance and keeping shipping channels clear of dangerous debris and objects.
- Port-wide Security and Safety Capital Projects – For the fiscal year beginning October 1, the Port has budgeted nearly $34 million for security and safety infrastructure projects. The list includes expansion of the Port’s fiber optic network, bridge and rail cameras, and improved fencing, lighting and barriers.
- Security Grants – The Port of Long Beach has aggressively pursued federal and state dollars to support its strategic goals for port security. Since 2001, the Port has received a total of $120 million in security grants that have helped pay for physical security systems, infrastructure improvements, emergency management and business continuity planning and equipment, and inter-agency coordination and preparedness.
The Port’s commitment to security has won several accolades over the years, including the 2011 GSN Homeland Security Award for “The Most Notable Maritime/Seaport Security Program.” The award is given annually by Government Security News, a publication dedicated to homeland security and technology.
Since 2001, the Port has increased security staff by 40 percent and invested millions of dollars in training, equipment and technology. The Port’s Harbor Patrol continues to team with other law enforcement agencies at every level – the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, federal and state Homeland Security, the Marine Exchange, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Long Beach Police Department, the Long Beach Fire Department and the Port of Los Angeles.
It is strong partnerships and continued investment that make the Port of Long Beach one of the most secure ports in the world.