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Napolitano, mayor look at security at LA port

April 25, 2011 12:03:34 AM PDT
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met with Los Angeles' mayor and police chief about efforts to protect the Port of Los Angeles.

Napolitano got a first-hand look at the port's new Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

"To keep the Port of Los Angeles safe, we must invest in our personnel and provide them with the latest training tactics and procedures to be on alert for any signs of potential terrorism," Villaraigosa said.

The center has the country's first set of maritime courses approved by Homeland Security and the California Emergency Management Agency. It provides specialty training on things like vessel searches and counter-terrorism practices.

Funding for the center comes from grants and tuition. The state provided $4.5 million for curriculum, while the federal government gave $3 million for facility improvements and to hire trained instructors. The first class of 24 officers began the training two weeks ago.

Napolitano also announced the expansion of the national "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign at the port.

Expanding the program at the port "is an important part of our efforts to partner with the public to keep our country safe and resilient," Napolitano said.

The port of L.A. is the busiest port in the nation and handles billions of dollars worth of cargo each year.

City News Service contributed to this report.