Shiprider program will now permanently fight crime
DETROIT — The Honorable Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Honorable Peter Van Loan, Canadian Minister of Public Safety, toured port operations today on both sides of the shared United States/Canada border and signed an agreement to make Shiprider—joint law enforcement teams stationed along the international maritime border—permanent.
“The Shiprider concept involves law enforcement officials from both countries operating together in integrated teams. Utilizing Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and U.S. Coast Guard vessels, they combat smuggling, organized drug crime, gun trade and other criminal activity in shared waterways,” said Minister Van Loan. “This agreement sends a strong message to criminals that illegal activity will not be tolerated.”
“Shiprider is a critical security partnership between the United States and Canada, improving our cross-border operations,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Through coordinated enforcement along our shared waterways, we can better interdict offenders trying to flee across our maritime border.”
Today’s agreement underscores the strong partnership between the U.S. and Canada and a mutual commitment to the safety of a shared border.
Shiprider enables the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard to cross-train, share resources and personnel and utilize each others’ vessels in the waters of both countries, such as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Working together, Canadian and U.S. law enforcement will help ensure that criminal organizations no longer exploit the shared border and waterways because of the inherent jurisdictional challenges associated with cross-border policing.
Secretary Napolitano and Minister Van Loan also emphasized the importance of managing the shared border in a way that not only strengthens security but also facilitates trade, jobs and economic growth. Specifically, both also reminded Canadian and U.S. citizens alike to ensure that they possess appropriate travel documents, as the June 1, 2009, deadline for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) approaches.