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The Port of San Diego’s Harbor Police officers and staff collaborate with local, state, and federal partners in a wide variety of public safety and homeland security functions. Our police officers provide law enforcement services for San Diego International Airport, San Diego Bay, and the tideland areas of the San Diego Unified Port District which cover parts of our five member cities: Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
Our civilian staff members serve in Records, Communications, Bay Operations and Support Services. In addition we have a Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and greatly appreciate the service of our volunteers. We have Officers serving in a number of specialty assignments including, Police K-9, Dive Team, Weapons Training Unit, Marine Firefighting, Investigations, Training, and a variety of state and federal task forces.
As you can see, the diverse mission of the Harbor Police Department demands that we hire, train, and retain the most talented officers and staff we can find. Whether responding to your call for assistance by vehicle, boat, bicycle, or foot, you can be sure of a well-coordinated response by highly trained police officers and staff.
The Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department has a distinction that most law enforcement agencies don’t have: Marine Firefighters. All Harbor Police officers are cross-trained to meet the standards of a Marine Firefighter. Initially, officers are put through a four-week, in-house training program, which qualifies them as Marine Firefighters.
There are also annual updates and refreshers to hone and sharpen their skills. Continual training is also conducted with all of the Port of San Diego’s member cities – San Diego, Coronado, Chula Vista, National City, and Imperial Beach – as well as San Diego Federal Fire Departments.
Each sworn officer is issued a full compliment of personal protective equipment pertaining to firefighting. The firefighting gear is the same as that to which is used by municipal firefighting agencies and meets all required federal and state laws. This gear is carried by officers while they are on duty, thus making them more effective to responding to calls.
Department vessels are essentially set up as a floating fire engine, with hose nozzles and rescue tools, foam, breathing apparatus and other required and marine environment-specific equipment.
Harbor Police sworn staff respond to all types of fire-related incidents on and adjacent to San Diego Bay, inner and outer coastal waters, and under mutual aid to assist San Diego City Lifeguards in Mission Bay.
The San Diego Harbor Police Department provides marked vehicle patrol to all Port Tidelands. These patrol units are responsible for enforcing California State Laws, San Diego County Ordinances, Unified Port District Codes, and municipal and member city ordinances.
They provide assistance to visitors and Port Tenants, as well as ensure the security to Port District properties and areas.
Harbor Police patrol units respond to all types of “calls for service” that can range from welfare checks and burglary to armed robbery and fraud incidents. We are also the first responders to any emergency calls.
Traffic Enforcement Team
The Harbor Police Department Traffic Enforcement Team consists of officers who are highly trained for the investigation of traffic collisions, speed enforcement and accident reconstruction, as well as normal patrol duties.
Officers assigned to this unit receive a minimum of 160 hours of additional training in their field. They are trained in specialized techniques of crime scene documentation, measurement procedures, photography, and mathematical calculation of vehicle speeds.
Members of this team can be “called in” from home for major collision investigations, and are also often relied upon for evidence collection and crime scene documentation due to their expertise.
The Harbor Police Bike Team is a specially trained unit that is used for assisting in general patrol duties, as well as special events. This unit can access areas that patrol cars cannot. They are an effective tool that helps to curtail criminal activities via highly visible and proactive patrol. They are also used for special events, such as the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show. They receive numerous hours of training and tactics to accomplish the mission. They ride specially designed bicycles made for law enforcement work.
Vessel Patrol and Maritime Response
Harbor Police Department vessels patrol San Diego Bay, its associated waterways, and coastal areas, similar to the way it patrols on land. These vessels are staffed 24 hours a day, in all types of weather.
The department’s current fleet of vessels is designed to aid us in providing the best services to the public and other agencies. The primary function is being able to respond to all types of law enforcement-related issues. Additionally, part of the fleet is also designed for response to any fire and rescue-related calls. All of the Department’s vessels can also accommodate the Dive Rescue Team and the different missions they handle.
Vessel Collision Team
The San Diego Harbor Police Department has a team of officers that are specially trained in vessel collision investigations. This team responds to any serious vessel collisions, sinkings and major fires on San Diego Bay. These investigations can be very complex and difficult to handle to the nature of having a “floating scene” to deal with. The team handles all types of vessel versus vessel and vessel versus non-vessel incidents. Harbor Police Department Vessel Collision Investigators have been a part of many high-profile and very serious cases in recent years. Their talents and training have proved a very valuable resource for our region.
Airport Law Enforcement
The San Diego Harbor Police Department is responsible for providing law enforcement services at San Diego International Airport. Officers patrol all terminals and other airport buildings, parking lots, access roads, and the airport operations areas – 24 hours a day – by foot and in marked patrol vehicles.
Officers assigned to work at the airport have additional training for dealing with airport and aircraft specific incidents and issues.
Since September 11, 2001, the San Diego Harbor Police Department assists the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its personnel to provide additional security at the airport.
Explosives Detection Canine (K-9) Team
The officers and their K-9 partners undergo a rigorous training and certification program. The K-9 is with its partner officer both at work and at home.
The team is primarily assigned to respond to San Diego International Airport and the Port Tidelands. In addition, they are available to respond to all areas of San Diego County. The team has, on numerous occasions, aided federal, state, local and municipal public safety agencies.
Narcotic Detection Canine (K-9)
The handler and canine partner go through a rigorous training and certification process to hone their skills.
The handler and canine partner are together 24/7.
The bond breeds a cohesiveness that is reflected in the field.
Harbor Police Dive Team
The San Diego Harbor Police Department has the premier Dive Team in San Diego County. This team is specially trained in search and rescue, evidence and body recovery, underwater explosive detection, vehicle recovery, and many other surface and underwater capabilities. The Dive Team has two sergeants who supervise a 20-member team. All members are able to be called in for any water emergency, around the clock. The team also has a dedicated primary dive boat as well as a towable Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB).
Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Harbor Police Department has been in partnership with the U.S. Military to conduct special responses to aid our naval forces when requested. The team also works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security.