Law enforcement agencies train for threats on the water - WSMV Channel 4

Law enforcement agencies train for threats on the water

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Law enforcement agencies in Middle Tennessee are working together to catch the bad guys on the water.

A training exercise Wednesday at Percy Priest Lake brought officers together in an effort to teach them how to work together in a high-speed boat pursuit.

"This is high-skill, high-speed boat operation," said Brad Williams, tactical program manager for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

They were training for a situation in which perhaps a suspicious boat is too close to a dam, a nuclear power plant or a shipment of hazardous cargo on the river.

"If we teach all the various agencies the same procedures, then they can seamlessly work together," Williams said.

A skill they practiced is called a "sneak and peak" where a pursuing police boat gets close enough for officers to look inside the boat that is a potential threat.

They look for possible weapons or contraband inside if the offender's boat refuses to stop.

"I've been boating my whole life. However, the instructors taught me something. I never knew a boat could do what we've been doing today," said Clarksville police Sgt. Johnny Randsdell.

Clarksville police joined the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Wilson County Sheriff's Office and Metro police for the multi-day training.

In many cases, their boats were bought with funds from the Department of Homeland Security.

"They can rest assured that their law enforcement agencies that are on the water are better prepared to handle a threat," Williams said.

Officials said they began this type of training in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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