BUFFALO, NY – An upcoming exercise on Lake Ontario, scheduled for Thursday and Friday will bring together federal, state, local and Canadian law enforcement partners in a multi-agency exercise designed to prepare for and prevent cross-border terrorist and criminal activity.
There are no known threats against the area, but boaters may notice an increased presence of law enforcement assets on the water.
The Monroe County Emergency Management Office organized and Department of Homeland Security sponsored the full-scale, multi-jurisdictional exercise.
The exercise coordinates a response to a possible waterborne threat in Lake Ontario and will include activities in Buffalo, Niagara, Oswego, and Rochester.
“This exercise exemplifies the relationships that have been cultivated among our local, State, Federal, and international partners in an effort to identify and mitigate threats to Monroe County, New York, and our Nation,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “It serves as a reminder of the dedication of our law enforcement and first responders to providing a safe environment for our community and to our commitment to ensuring the security of our borders.”
This scenario calls for a multi-agency response based on intelligence gathered from U.S. and Canadian officials.
“The Great Lakes are a shared bi-national treasure and threats on either side of the border impact both countries,” said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Coast Guard 9th District. “U.S. and Canadian forces work seamlessly to protect life and the environment on the Great Lakes, so bi-national security is an important collaboration, too. The objective of the exercise is to protect the region in collaboration with our Canadian partners, and learn invaluable lessons about defense and how to leverage each other’s efforts for the benefit of all.”
A variety of security challenges require collaboration and partnership among the participating governing agencies on both sides of the border.
“Not only does this exercise give us an opportunity to collaborate with our state and local partners, it also is a useful opportunity to work alongside the agencies in the Department of Homeland Security,” said Dan Ebert, Deputy of Customs and Border Protection, Sector Buffalo. “The U.S. and Canada are significant trading partners and it’s critical that we can ensure an unimpeded flow of legal goods and commerce across our shared secure border.”
Participating agencies include: National Exercise Division, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office DHS, Radiological Assistance Program, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Coast Guard & CG Auxiliary, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine, Office of Border Patrol, Marine Security Operation Centres (Canada), Maritime Security Enforcement Team, 2nd Civil Support Team NY, New York Naval Militia, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police, New York State Intelligence Center, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York State Police, New York State Park Police, Monroe County, Oswego County Emergency Management Office and Fire Coordinator’s Office, Erie County Public Safety, Niagara County, and NYS Department of Health.