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With over 25,000 miles of navigable
inland waterways in the United States, it
should come as no surprise that police
departments maintain marine patrol
units.  That number doesn't even include
the thousands of miles of Atlantic, Pacific,
and Gulf coastlines that affect the police
activities of coastal police jurisdictions.  
Prior to 9-11, police marine units were
tasked with obvious activities like
enforcing boating rules and regulations
and conducting emergency water
rescues.  
9-11 has changed the picture for police
marine patrols and probably for the
better.  Aside from drug smugglers, the
vast majority of criminals with whom
police normally interact rarely use
waterways as their preferred mode of
transportation.  In the past, a police
department, responsible for a significant
body of water, maintained a marine unit
more for an emergency response
capability rather than viewing it as a
significant contribution to its patrol
activities.

The real threat of terrorism has exposed
a very large, and relatively un-patrolled,
area of travel and access to those who
might desire to smuggle more than drugs
such as guns, bombs, and the people
willing to utilize them.

While the United States Coast Guard is,
and will continue to be, the premier
defender of America's coastlines and
waterways, the need for more police
involvement in patrolling waterways
should be obvious. When one considers
the growth in population, the thousands
of miles of shoreline, the vast increase in
commercial and recreational water traffic,
and the threat of terrorism, it should be
obvious to anyone that more marine
patrol is the only responsible course of
action.

Assignment to a police marine unit is just
like assignment to any other specialized
unit.  You won't be able to begin your
career there.  You'll have to put the
required amount of time in patrol, before
you can apply for transfer to your marine
unit.  Don't forget to make those all
important personal connections with
members of the unit.  Without those
connections, your chances of getting the
assignment will remain mostly a figment
of your own imagination.
If you think that an assignment to a
police marine unit would be a relatively
easy and carefree assignment, you're
wrong.  It's still police work with a few
more demanding and dangerous aspects
added.  While I think police boats are
really cool, I wouldn't want to be
assigned to one.  When I get into a bad
situation, I prefer to have solid ground
beneath me, but that's just me.
United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Read about the Coast Guard
District where you
live
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is
a military branch of the United States
involved in maritime law, mariner
assistance, and search and rescue,
among other duties of coast guards
elsewhere. One of the seven uniformed
services of the United States, and the
smallest armed service of the United
States, its stated mission is to protect
the public, the environment, and the
United States economic and security
interests in any maritime region in which
those interests may be at risk, including
international waters and America's
coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

USCG has a broad and important role in
homeland security, law enforcement,
search and rescue, marine environmental
pollution response, and the maintenance
of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to
navigation (ATON). It also lays claim to
being the United States' oldest
continuous seagoing service. The United
States Coast Guard has about 40,150
men and women on active duty.
Virginia Marine Police - The Virginia
Marine Police are the front-line defenders
of our tidal natural resources, and
comprise the largest division within the
Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
Originally formed in 1875 as the Oyster
Navy, the Virginia Marine Police enforce
state and federal commercial and
recreational fishery laws and regulations.
They have full law enforcement arrest
powers throughout the Commonwealth.
New Jersey State Police - Marine
Services Bureau - The Marine Services
Bureau provides a full-time law
enforcement service for all of New
Jersey's waterways and is the primary
provider for all police services on the
water and contiguous land areas of the
State of New Jersey. The mission of the
Marine Services Bureau is to protect and
serve the boating community and to
preserve the natural resources of this
state by utilizing general law enforcement
concepts, training and education, and
enforcing all laws fairly and without bias.
We shall also provide a preventive level of
homeland security through intelligent,
vigilant, and highly visible patrol
measures.
"Assignment to a police marine unit
is just like assignment to any other
specialized unit.  You won't be able
to begin your career there."
~ Barry M. Baker

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Becoming a Police Officer
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