BOSTON — Members from Coast Guard Station Eastport, Maine and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Maritime Unit in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, conducted a joint law enforcement patrol along the St. Croix River on Aug. 26 and 27.
The patrol is part of the newly approved Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operation, which strengthens maritime security in shared U.S. and Canadian waterways by allowing law enforcement officers to freely cross the border and jointly enforce laws and regulations.
These patrols, which Station Eastport hosted, are the first to be conducted in the 1st Coast Guard District.
"The Canadians bring law enforcement techniques and skills to the table to help us overcome cross-border challenges," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeffrey R. Dowell, a shiprider and boarding team officer from Station Eastport. "We are using the training we received in South Carolina, and showcasing each other's strengths."
Officers from both countries will be aboard ICMLEO vessels, however all law enforcement activities in Canadian waters will be led and directed by a Canadian law enforcement officer and all law enforcement activities in U.S. waters will be led and directed by a U.S. law enforcement officer.
"Working with the U.S. Coast Guard puts us at a great advantage for fresh pursuit of vessels crossing into the U.S. or back into Canada," said Sebastian Ruel, a royal mounted police officer participating the the exercises. "The learning curve for the maritime operations is steep, but we are all learning quickly."
Since 2005, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have conducted and evaluated several successful joint maritime law enforcement pilots. These projects allowed for the assessment of the U.S.- Canada Shiprider Framework Agreement to determine operational effectiveness and to enhance the level of cooperation among the Coast Guard, RCMP and other law enforcement agencies.
In 2009, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Canada’s Minister of Public Safety signed the Framework Agreement on ICMLEO between the U.S. and Canada to govern the deployment of operations.
In June 2012, the Canadian Parliament passed implementing legislation with respect to the Framework Agreement, which paved the way for Canada to begin ICMLEO operations. Then, in June 2013, the final two policy agreements were signed enabling ICMLEO operations.
"We hope this is an ongoing evolution between us and the RCMP," said Chief Petty Officer Austin Olmstead. "The experience from this exercise has proved invaluable for my crew."