Protecting Broward County Waters

Since 1991, the Sheriff's Office has provided law enforcement services for Port Everglades, from the far east, to the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.

In all four zones, there are about 100 hunting camps, which can change ownership, but no new ones added. These camps are periodically checked to make sure everything is all right, as well as making sure there are no environmental hazards. Airboats and regular boats are safety checked, as well as for hunting or fishing violations. If a serious offense takes place, the Fish and Wildlife agency can be called in if time or communications permit.

Two different airboats are at their disposal, one being a 16' Diamond Back, with 497 GM motor of 497HP featuring counter rotating carbon fibre rotating props. The airboat is simply but efficiently equipped with satellite phone, VHF radio, LGC-3000 Lowrance GPS, epirb, two days worth of food and water, along with medical safety gear, and plenty of gear for boat extraction from any unforeseen circumstances for theirs, or anyone else's boat.

Patrols are done whenever possible, with no specific dedicated schedule. Airboat trails, and sloughs (access trails) are many, with people bringing in markers of all sorts to help make it easier to find the different camps. Knowledge of the area is probably the most important "gear" to bring along to the area, as Deputy Alexander Jacobi can attest. He has been patrolling the region frequently as a nine-year veteran with the Office.

Port Everglades

Security from a Mobile Marine Command Boat to security with a SWAT team looking for submersed explosives

The Broward County Sheriff's Office, and the United States Coast Guard have the jurisdiction for the massive Port Everglades established in 1927 as an agricultural port for local citrus and produce farmers. After WWII, the massive influx of people made the Port necessary to bring in food, and building materials for the thousands of new homes, and businesses serving the major increase in population, where former service men and their families remember the area inviting and sunny.

Now BSO provides law enforcement services with specialized resources such as the Harbor Patrol, Investigations Unit, Bomb Detection and a K-9 Unit, allowing the Office to provide full service to the visitors and businesses that travel into or conduct commerce there. It is necessary to secure the waterborne commerce, exceeding 23 million tons in liquid, bulk, and containerized cargoes, which bring in annual operating revenues of more than $66 million.

Port Everglades is garnered as the "world's best cruise port", with more than 5,300 diverse ships coming in annually, and even making the Port a U.S. Navy liberty destination favorite. A somewhat misnomer, this haven is primarily in three cities, City of Hollywood with about five times the amount of acreage as the other Cities of Fort Lauderdale and Dania. Its initial and continued attraction is the large secure open storage space for all the cargo, fuel, and passenger ship requirements. The port is still updating its master plan to ensure continued growth and success through the coming years by staying at the cutting edge of technology and service.

This effort comes at a price to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, but the Office is also keeping up with the security needed, (with the help of Homeland Security funds), by recently adding another boat to their inventory of two able 26' boats, and a 34' Safeboat.

The new, not off the shelf 43' SAFE Boat, is their Mobile Marine Command Vessel that can be used for supplementary emergencies, as well. It will work with the USCG, other adjoining county offices, and the Regional Domestic Security Task Force. Patrolling about seven miles of dockage in port, between the North, Mid and South port areas along the Intracoastal Waterway, the 45 mph+ capable boat has its work cut out for tour of duty. With futuristic controls, cutting edge communications technology, and ergonomic seats, to name a few on board tools at his fingertips, pilot and harbor patrol officer, Matthew Palmieri should be able to handle most anything that may come along.

Not to be sitting on their laurels, the County Office's SWAT Unit regularly trains in the Port at least twice a month for vessel boarding and explosive training. The up to 20 member volunteer Wet Team of the SWAT unit, (the other unit being the sniper team of about 50 members), got to evaluate and test a 28' new 'off-the-shelf' American made Zodiac 2800 boat with twin 250 HP Yamaha 4-stroke outboard engines that saves ½ the fuel used of a similar sized hard-sided boat. It was on display at the National Sheriff’s Conference exhibit hall prior to testing.

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