Duties for Port Police Officers include the safety and security of all passenger, cargo, and vessel operations at the Port of Los Angeles, requiring considerable public and community contact and cooperation. Officers are assigned to the Port of Los Angeles (City of Los Angeles Harbor Department) and undergo basic police academy training followed by field training with a field training officer, and may be assigned to patrol by vehicle or boat. Boat patrols include the enforcement of laws regulating vessel traffic, pollution investigations, handling of navigational hazards, inspections of docks, wharves, marinas, and all Port-controlled waterways. Officers may also independently initiate actions designed to respond to long-term or continuing criminal or safety problems, and respond to individual criminal activity. Whether patrolling by land, sea, air, or even underwater, policing the harbor is definitely an exciting job!
Los Angeles Port Police
In addition to using advanced technology to augment its security operations, Port Police capabilities include K-9 units for vessel and container searches; a full-time dive unit for inspecting critical infrastructure; a Cargo Theft Interdiction Program to prevent and investigate cargo theft; a marine unit for conducting high visibility patrols to deter and detect infrastructure threats; a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area anti-drug task force for targeting drug trafficking activities; and a Sea Marshall Program to inspect all inbound and outbound cruise ships and vessels of interest.
Law enforcement veteran Thomas E. Gazsi currently serves as Chief of the Los Angeles Port Police. For those interested in a potential career with the Los Angeles Port Police, an online application can be completed here.
Close collaboration and information sharing with multiple government entities is critical to the Port Police’s mission to monitor and keep safe vast miles of waterfront and land-based facilities. The force has a long and impressive track record of successful joint operations with other local law enforcement agencies, as well as state and federal government partners.
Port’s security agency partners include the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, California State Allied Law Enforcement Agencies, California Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles City Police, Long Beach Police and Port of Long Beach.
Multi-agency collaboration includes use of comprehensive, integrated threat detection and incident management systems that facilitate real-time communication and sharing of crucial information. The Port’s Threat Detection Center—the first of its kind for any port in the world—uses more than 460 “smart” cameras that provide surveillance of critical Port infrastructure assets around-the-clock. Augmenting these cameras are submerged sensors that detect threats below the water’s surface as well. Data captured by the Center has proved invaluable not only to the Port’s security and safety mission, but for the many security agencies that have also benefited from the sharing of this information.
Sworn to protect, dedicated to serve.
The Mission of the Port of Los Angeles Port Police is to ensure the safety and security of the Port of Los Angeles through diligence of duty, proactive law enforcement, and a partnership with our customers and community.
Officers receive general law enforcement and regulatory assignments designed to promote a safe port. These day-to-day duties typically include:
- Patrolling the Port's 43 miles of waterfront by boat, helicopter, automobile, and bicycle.
- Monitoring vessel berthings to ensure safe docking.
- Issuing hazardous cargo and dangerous-goods permits.
- Inspecting vessels to guard against drug smuggling and pollution violations.
- Enforcing local, state, and federal laws.
- Providing special training and general assistance to customer security operations.
Possible assignments are listed below:
Port Police Patrol
Los Angeles Port Police officers are responsible for enforcing all the laws and ordinances within the jurisdiction of the Port of Los Angeles, including its commercial operations, docks and marinas, recreational, residential and neighboring areas. Officers may also be involved with other programs such as participation in bicycle patrol, K-9, dive operations, sea marshal operations, detectives, or involvement in narcotics, cargo theft, or anti-terrorism task forces.
Port Police Dive Team
Formed in 1989, the Los Angeles Port Police Dive Team has sought after innovative underwater technologies to protect and secure the Port of Los Angeles’ waterways. The Dive Team's primary responsibility is to reduce the risk of underwater threats to the Port’s waterways and infrastructure. The Team’s robust underwater program uses technology, education, training, and agency partnering to promote safety, security, and emergency management. The Dive Team maps the Port’s waterways using sonar equipment, and dives on identified anomalies to determine risk. The Dive Team’s sonar program plays an integral role in the Port’s Reconstruction and Resiliency Plan, which provides a road map for the reconstruction of the Port after a natural disaster, accident, or act of aggression. They also conduct hull searches of high-interest vessels to ensure no hazardous devices or contraband pose a threat to the Port community.
Port Police K-9 Unit
Canine officers are a vital component of the Los Angeles Port Police. The drug-sniffing dogs are certified by the California Narcotics Canine Association and are trained to sniff and locate narcotics in any of the thousands of cargo and passenger ships that move through the Port each year. The bomb dogs are specifically trained to sniff out explosive materials with a primary assignment of patrolling cruise ships and the World Cruise Center.
Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP)
Formerly known as Cargo CATs (Cargo Criminal Apprehension Team), CTIP is a coordinated multi-agency effort responsible for the prevention and investigation of incidents of cargo theft in Southern California. The CTIP partnership includes several major law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels: Los Angeles Port Police, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Vernon Police Department, California Department of Insurance, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)
The HIDTA is a coordinated anti-drug task force that targets drug trafficking in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Operated by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies teamed up to form the HIDTA. This task force replaced the Marine Anti-Smuggling Team (MAST), originally formed in 1994.
The Los Angeles Port Police Marine Unit provides high visibility patrol throughout the waterways of the Port of Los Angeles to deter and detect critical infrastructure threats. The Unit also conducts vessel escorts for cruise ships, fuel tankers, and barges. Often times, the Marine Unit is the first public safety entity on scene and aids in rescues and towing operations. The Marine Unit enforces local and federal laws that include navigational laws and codes.
Pay and Benefits
- Annual Salary Range: $62,118.00 - $98,595.00
- LAPD/LAFD Tier 6 Pension Program
- Paid Educational Incentive
- Paid Vacation: 11 days (17 days after 5 years)
- Paid Holidays: 10 days
- $1,750 Uniform Allowance
- 10-year and 15-year Longevity Step
- 3% Basic Post Pay
- 1% Intermediate Post Pay
- 2% Advanced Post Pay
- 5.5% Specialized Unit Pay
- 11% K-9 Handler Pay
- Comprehensive Medical and Dental Plan
- Paid Vision, Life Insurance, Long Term Disability Insurance
- Overtime Pay
- Paid Pre-Academy, including equipment
To begin the testing process to become a Los Angeles Port Police Officer, click here to complete an online application.
Need more information? View Los Angeles Port Police Job Bulletin.
Questions? Call (866) PORT-PD1/(866) 767-8731.
Email the Port Police portal for up-to-date recruitment testing information at JoinPortPD@portla.org