I read the part about the Coast Guard personnel not being considered "real" LEOS, and about spewed my water
That's an issue that's been going on as long as I've been in/around law enforcement. The State looked down on the County, the County looked down on the City, Everybody joked about the University Cops, and everyone thought their willy was bigger than everyone elses
We used to say there was the State (Highway Patrol), the Sheriff's Office and Brand X (literally everyone else). We considered Game or Marine Patrol officer's "Grouper Troopers", and I actually heard a gym owner who gave local law enforcement a discount on gym fees, say to a trooper "I only give that to "real" cops!"
Looking back, I am embarrassed by the lack of respect and immature attitude everyone displayed. Thankfully, most of us grew up. I'd hate to think that we've de-evolved back to that period
The bottom line is, and we proved this vividly, or better said, had someone prove it to us,during 9-11! Everyone plays a role in law enforcement, and this debacle and abortion we call "Homeland Security."
We all have a job to do, and if we continue looking down our noses on other agencies, continue to withhold information and not communicate with other professionals, then we WILL see it again
! And while some still believe otherwise, no one agency can do it all themselves!
Just like the military. While "SEALS" are the buzzword du jour, the fact is, there's a lot that goes into making any mission successful, and a lot of people and different agencies. From the Sea to the center of the country, no one group can do it all themselves
!..least I digress...
In this case, I guess the "COP" status of Coast Guard personnel is debatable. I have a very good friend who used to constantly refer to himself as a "Federal Officer
." In reality, he's a flight deck safety officer. An armed pilot. And while it's true that he undergoes a lot of the same proficiency training as an Air Marshall, is he really a "cop?" Does he go out every day and do what cops do (whatever that may be-LOL)? The answer of course is no. He's a professional pilot, and frankly, I'd rather have him proficient in that aspect while flying the plane.
To me, it's the same with the Coasties.
They have a Federal responsibility and do their best to fulfill it.
While in their respective lives yes, they are "cops."
Whether some local/state or other federal cop thinks otherwise is immaterial.
I'm sorry to read that some people don't consider them cops. I understand the mentality, but I don't agree with it.
Are they full time street or detective type cops? No.
Yet under federal law, they are still LEO's, as such, they are cops!
They carry firearms and have arrest authority.
They can stop you, search you/your vessel without a warrant (try that on a local level, and let me know how it works out for you?
), terminate your voyage, seize your vessel, and put your back side in Federal Prison. Sounds like cop work to me.
And when you take down several tons of dope and a boat full of A-holes, then that sounds like cop work to me again!
The facts that most coast guard crews only do police work on a sporadic basis, and that most cops still view them as military personnel much the same as an MP, SP or other military police officer, probably has a something to do with the officers viewpoint. Military and civilian style law enforcement can vary drastically in its application.
And regardless of the training, they're still going to require a good bit of training to do daily, on the road or detective type, police work.
This is not to say they are any less "cop" than anyone else.
When I joined the USCG(r), I was a cop. I remained a cop throughout my tenure there. And while I and the rest of our boat crews generally had more law enforcement experience individually, than most of our active duty crews had collectively, I still had a LOT
to learn about maritime/admiralty law enforcement and the way the Coast Guard does things. Some of the things they did made no sense. Some were downright dangerous! Others were squared away and made perfect sense. It just depends on who was in charge that year, and what local policies were in place.
Sometimes this could be frustrating and confusing, thus the term Uncle Sam's Confused Group.
But I loved every minute of it, and miss it even today. I was fortunate that my local group (now sector) recognized our LEO's as an asset and utilized us on a district level to train active duty and reserve personnel in various law enforcement related topics, such as firearms, defensive tactics, search and seizure, and officer safety.
So, are they cops?
Yes, very much so. Punch one, and go to Federal Court for Assault on a Federal LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.
Maybe, if there was more interaction between the Coast Guard and local law enforcement, there would be a better relationship? But for the most part, unless you're a local cop involved with maritime enforcement, your interaction with the CG is going to be relatively minimal.
I know we've had a few FTX's where all agencies involved in port security were involved, and I understand that they went well.
I still have several friends with kids in the CG, and as to the person that can carry his/her weapon anywhere in the US, I will be willing to bet that it's not so much because they're a "Federal Law Enforcement Officer." The Commandant or local command (IIRC) can shut that down at any time.
I would venture that's it's more likely they are covered under HR218 (LEOSA), as amended a few years back to include the Coast Guard
, and other military personnel whose job description involved the enforcement of laws, apprehension of criminals and prosecution of cases. This even extended to SP's/MP's and MI personnel, and most would not consider MI personnel "cops" in the conventional term.
It still requires the commands approval if I recall correctly.
LEOSA allows active and honorably retired LEO's, the ability pursuant to proper qualification and annual requalification, to carry concealed firearms anywhere in the US within certain guidelines.
As for the law enforcement authority of the Coast Guard, they once used the term "Smokey's of the Sea."
As for me, I'll still consider them cops!
Semper Paratus baby!