TSA teams with 14 other agencies on Long Island Sound to enhance security collaboration

Local Press Release
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
A USCG Response Boat escorts a ferry across the Long Island Sound during the latest COBRA exercise. (Photo courtesy of Chief Jerry Minchew)   

NEW LONDON, Conn. – On Saturday Transportation Security Administration employees honed their skills and coordinated the participation of over 40 agents representing (15) federal, state and local agencies during a Collaborative Operation By Response Agency (COBRA) deployment exercise. This intermodal exercise brought together first response agencies to help enhance their familiarity with each other’s assets, resources and jurisdiction.

Joint agency screening took place across ferry and train terminals in Connecticut and New York. TSA law enforcement joined the Amtrak Police Department and the Connecticut National Guard’s 14th Civil Support Team in screening vehicles waiting to board vessels and train cars, while the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) deployed boarding parties in all ferry systems, and numerous police marine bureaus dispatched boats for escort duty.

“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.                

Connecticut maintains an extensive commuter transit system that shuttles passengers to New York via ferry and rail on the Northeast Corridor.

Connecticut Federal Security Director William Csontos is responsible for ensuring proactive measures are in place for the protection of the traveling public in all transportation domains, including aviation, rail and maritime.

“These COBRA exercises help our agencies grow into a cohesive quick response team,” said Csontos. “When you are charged with protecting the travelling public from potential threats, it’s imperative that we work together seamlessly.”

The COBRA team will continue to train throughout the summer with several more planned multi-state intermodal exercises on shared maritime and ferry systems.