Over the weekend, the Suffolk County marine patrol units conducted a massive security sweep along more than 1000 miles of Suffolk’s coastline, including 49 bodies of water in Suffolk’s ten townships and twenty villages. The sweep, part of an ongoing initiative, known as OPERATION S.H.I.E.L.D. (Suffolk Homeland Security Interdiction and Education for Long Island Defense), was coordinated by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the N.Y.S. Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Counter Terrorism, the United States Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, local police and bay constables, and members of the East End Marine Task Force.
The marine patrols inspected 417 vessels, including 30 foreign flagged vessels, during the sweep. They cited 4 federal law violations and 114 other law violations, including registration and equipment violations. Hazmat officers detected 3 radiation sources, which were mitigated as safe sources.
OPERATION S.H.I.E.L.D. conducts random operations throughout the year for the purpose of identifying and disrupting the ability of terrorists, traffickers and immigration law violators to enter the United States, and to educate boaters to be vigilant and report suspicious activity. Intelligence gathered during each operation is shared among the participating agencies. The program, which is supported by a grant from the State’s Division of Homeland Security, is considered a model of inter-agency coordination among its various law enforcement partners.
According to Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco,
“Suffolk County’s waterways are uniquely situated as a gateway to New York City,
which is a known target for terrorists and drug traffickers. OPERATION
S.H.I.E.L.D. has a deterrent effect on these individuals and groups, but it
also helps prepare us in the event there is a marine catastrophe that requires
a coordinated response.”