Santa Monica Community Police Academy – Harbor Patrol

Sky & Pacific Ocean

Weeks 1 & 2 // Week 3 // Week 4 // Week 5 // Week 6 // Week 7 // Week 8 // Week 9 // Week 10 // Week 11 // Ride Along

The final class of the Santa Monica Community Police Academy was held in the most beautiful classroom I have ever seen. No, there’s not a “luxury room” hidden away at the police station somewhere, we were learning about the Harbor Patrol Unit while on the ocean!

  • The Harbor Patrol Unit is a non-sworn, civilian unit made up of both full time and part time employees. Yes, the Harbor Patrol technically works for the police department, but a lot of what they do isn’t like “cop stuff” at all.
  • The Harbor Patrol’s main job is to respond to water emergencies. That can include recreational boats, commercial boats, kayaks, long distance swimmers, etc.
  • They also are responsible for maintaining buoys.
  • SMPD Harbor Patrol is part of the LAX Air/Sea Disaster Preparedness Plan.

  • To be part of the Harbor Patrol unit you need to be both an EMT and a scuba/rescue diver with at least 1 year life guarding experience in open water.
  • The EMT part is due to the amount of time it takes to get someone off a boat and on to dry land if there is a medical emergency.
  • Traffic being what it is, they are often the first responders to medical emergencies on the Santa Monica pier.

  • Harbor Patrol responds to deck fires on boats “quite often,” mostly from people smoking cigarettes.
  • The other call they respond to a lot is people who have fallen/jumped off the pier.
  • Harbor Patrol operates mostly at the Santa Monica pier & surrounding area, but will respond outside of Santa Monica city limits if a distress call is sent and they could get there before any other responders would.
  • SMPD’s main boat is a Seaway and is almost identical to lifeguard boats. (5 ft shorter, but with a bigger gate.)

This is the part where I just admit I have entirely too few ‘bullet points’ to justify what is entirely too many photos for one post.

I guess I think of the Harbor Patrol officers as one part diver and one part EMT, blended thoroughly and served up in a police crust.

I made a dumb video.

I’m sure there are some palm trees in there somewhere…

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