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Protecting America's Ports: Promising Practices

NCJ Number
Antony Pate; Bruce Taylor; Bruce Kubu
Date Published
November 2007
122 pages
This study identified the best and most promising local practices in port security and explored situations that involved local adaptations of a nationwide practice.
The study focused on the following general areas: awareness of threats to a port, prevention of attacks on a port, preparedness for an attack against a port, response after an attack, and recovery after an attack. For the ports studied, two main efforts have been undertaken to increase awareness of potential attacks against seaports: stakeholder coordination and collaboration initiatives as well as protocols for detecting and monitoring port-related security risks/intelligence sharing. A number of promising practices were identified for preventing attacks against ports, including improvements in physical security/infrastructure, protocols and processes for limiting entry, technological detection/inspection systems, law enforcement activities, and interagency operational centers. Promising practices in preparing for attacks against ports are training; field exercises; and models, simulations, and games. Promising practices for responses after an attack are an incident/unified command approach, exercises and training, and team responses. Compared to the previous four areas examined, the study did not yield many promising practices for recovery after an attack; however, there were some promising practices in establishing recovery implementation plans in Galveston/Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and Seattle, WA. Plans for recovery at each of these ports are described. Case studies were conducted of exemplary and innovative security practices in 17 seaports, with attention to intergovernmental and public-private partnerships as well as elements of success of those partnerships. 75 references and appended Police Executive Research Forum/Department of Justice Port Security Project site visits protocol and procedures