Enforcement: It’s all in the name of safety

Chief Petty Officer Duane Lumsdon, a maritime enforcement specialist at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, and a Clatsop County Sheriff’s deputy get into a shootout during a mock traffic stop and training exercise held in the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, March 8, 2017. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and the Clatsop County Police Department often train together to learn from one another and strengthen partnerships. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.

Chief Petty Officer Duane Lumsdon, a maritime enforcement specialist at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, and a Clatsop County Sheriff’s deputy get into a shootout during a mock traffic stop and training exercise held in the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, March 8, 2017. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and the Clatsop County Police Department often train together to learn from one another and strengthen partnerships. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.

Story  by Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read.

A cop car with its lights flickering parks behind a truck with two passengers, as the officer exits his car he shouts commands to those inside the truck. The non-compliant passengers have been instructed to engage the officer at will. The passengers were armed with real guns, loaded with real ammo except the tips were wax and paint.

Coast Guard volunteers are pulled over during a mock traffic stop during training with the members of the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office held in the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, March 7, 2017. The volunteers acted as civilian bystanders, trouble makers, mentally unstable persons and various other roles to help simulate real world scenarios for the police department. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.

Coast Guard volunteers are pulled over during a mock traffic stop during training with the members of the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office held in the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, March 7, 2017. The volunteers acted as civilian bystanders, trouble makers, mentally unstable persons and various other roles to help simulate real world scenarios for the police department. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.

“As I sat in the passenger seat of the truck, waiting for the mock traffic stop to begin, I kept going over in my head what the instructor had told me: ‘As soon as the officer flips on his lights, I want you to exit the vehicle and engage the officer,”’ said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg, a volunteer non-compliant assailant. “I kept starring at the gun in my hands, a snub-nose revolver – I must have been visibly nervous, because my fellow volunteer and driver of the vehicle in question during this exercise kept explaining to me that getting shot ‘wasn’t that bad’. I didn’t really believe him but before I could think about it any further the lights of the cop car behind us began to flicker.”

They ignored the commands spewing from the officer’s mouth and ignored their own bodily protests as they exited the vehicle with guns raised toward the approaching officer – a whistle shrieks and pierces the air signaling the end of the scenario.

“Every fiber in my body was protesting as if to say, ‘Don’t do it man!’” said Klingenberg. “I was on the ground when the whistle blew so I did mental check and realized I had been shot five painful times. By the end of the training the number rose to 23.”

This training was designed to train deputies from the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, but it provided education to all involved including the volunteers. Most of the volunteers were active duty Coast Guard members from various units located in Clatsop County, which is the most northwestern county in Oregon and sits along the banks of the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River.

Lt. Adriana Gaenzle rides aboard a Clatsop County Sheriff's Office boat alongside a deputy from CCSO during dual-agency law enforcement patrol on the Columbia River near Astoria, Ore., March 4, 2017.

Lt. Adriana Gaenzle rides aboard a Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office boat alongside a deputy from CCSO during dual-agency law enforcement patrol on the Columbia River near Astoria, Ore., March 4, 2017. By patrolling the waterways together personnel from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and CCSO can enforce local and federal law aboard the same asset, and it is a good investment of taxpayer money as it allows for more operational flexibility. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Sector Columbia River.

The Coast Guard alongside its partner law enforcement agencies patrols the waters of the Pacific Northwest, enforcing the laws and regulations that have been put in place to keep commercial and recreational boaters safe. In many instances the mere presence of law enforcement deters laws from being broken. Laws and regulations are created and enforced to keep people and the community they live in safe. On federal navigable waterways like the Columbia River, the controlling authority is the Coast Guard.

“Our mission is to ensure the safety and security of the ports along the north coast and Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Morris, Sector Columbia River enforcement division chief. “We rely on our local and state partners as force multipliers but at the same time our air and afloat assets help other agencies put eyes on their overall jurisdictions and priorities.”

Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, located in Warrenton, Oregon, work with more than 16 different law enforcement agencies to cover 885 nautical miles of coast and navigable waterways, including 33 ports and spanning 3 states in the Columbia River region, and with each agency having their own specialties and authorities.

“Working with partner agencies has a tangible effect on the community,” said Morris. “Going out together on one platform and enforcing federal, state and local laws at the same time is a really good investment of taxpayer money as it allows for more operational flexibility and less strain on manpower.”

Specifically, Sector Columbia River and the Clatsop County Sheriff’s office will often work together six days a week, especially during the summertime. Clatsop County only has two marine officers, so they either have to burn both officers to crew a boat or rely on the Coast Guard for more flexibility.

Two members from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River are subdued during a training exercise with the members of the Clatsop County Police Department held in the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, March 8, 2017. More than 10 Coast Guard members volunteered to assist the sheriff’s office with their training over the course of 5 days. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.

Two members from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River are subdued during a training exercise with the members of the Clatsop County Police Department held in the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, March 8, 2017. More than 10 Coast Guard members volunteered to assist the sheriff’s office with their training over the course of 5 days. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.

“As a sheriff’s office in general, we are so fortunate to have that relationship with the Coast Guard,” said Sgt. Bruce Scott, Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office. “Our marine patrol is constantly out with them and on the other side our deputies have many contacts with the Coast Guard in order to gather volunteers for training shore side, like the practical law enforcement exercises held at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds in mid-March, which allowed our officers to practice use-of-force scenarios and critical situation response training.”

Coast Guard volunteers were able to simulate a constantly changing environment during training including dealing with people that portrayed aggressive behaviors and others that were not aggressive at all, which gave deputies and corrections officers an opportunity to see and experience different scenarios.

Being shot with wax bullets was painful, but the education received by Clatsop County Sheriff’s deputies made it all worthwhile in the end for the Coast Guard volunteers who acted as non-compliant assailants for the purpose of training those who they will work side by side with tomorrow. Working partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement and their continual presence on the water and on land will keep communities and boaters safe. Ensuring the safety and security of the ports along the maritime waterways is the goal, and the best way to achieve that goal is to work with partner agencies.

A fisherman on the Columbia River shows life jackets to a Clatsop County Sheriff's Deputy and Coast Guard Lt. Adriana Gaenzle during a dual-agency law enforcement patrol conducted by officers from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and the Clatsop County Sheriff's Office, March 4, 2017.

A fisherman on the Columbia River shows life jackets to a Clatsop County Sheriff’s Deputy and Coast Guard Lt. Adriana Gaenzle during a dual-agency law enforcement patrol conducted by officers from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, March 4, 2017. Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Enforcement Division regularly team together with deputies from the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of the public while on the water. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Sector Columbia River.

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