COBRA exercise strengthens TSA’s law enforcement partnerships

Monday, July 20, 2020
COBRA Exercise

TSA employees recently came together with 14 law enforcement partners from federal, state and local agencies to hone their skills during a Collaborative Operation By Response Agency (COBRA) deployment exercise.

This collaborative and intermodal exercise brought together first response agencies at ferry and train terminals in Connecticut and New York to perform exercises that help agencies become more familiar with each other’s assets, resources and jurisdictions.

“These COBRA exercises help our agencies grow into a cohesive quick response team,” said Connecticut Federal Security Director William Csontos, who is responsible for ensuring proactive measures are in place for the traveling public in all transportation domains throughout Connecticut, including aviation, rail and maritime. “When you are charged with protecting the traveling public from potential threats, it’s imperative that we work together seamlessly.”

Checking Passengers on Ferry

TSA law enforcement worked with the Amtrak Police Department and the Connecticut National Guard’s 14th Civil Support Team to screen vehicles waiting to board vessels and train cars, while the U.S. Coast Guard deployed boarding parties in all ferry systems, and numerous police marine bureaus dispatched boats for escort duty.

Supervisory Transportation Security Inspector Larry King served as the on-scene coordinator for a COBRA team at the Orient Point, partnering with the Southold Town Police Department and Suffolk County Sheriff. At the Port Jefferson ferry, Transportation Security Inspector David Del Santo coordinated the deployment in partnership with the Suffolk County Police Department and the Port Jefferson Harbormaster.

The COBRA Team in New London, Connecticut. (Photo courtesy of Steve Blindbury)

The region where the exercise focused is home to a critical and extensive commuter transit system along the Northeast Corridor where passengers travel to and from New York City. The COBRA team will continue to train throughout the summer with several more planned exercises on shared maritime and ferry systems.

“TSA recognizes the value and importance of bringing together federal, state and local agencies that share the responsibility of protecting the traveling public and our mass transit systems,” said Connecticut Assistant Federal Security Director-Law Enforcement Steve Blindbury.