The Houston Ship Channel Security District (Security District) hosted their annual meeting and luncheon on November 15, 2019, at the Pasadena Convention Center. Following a short board meeting, Security District Chairman Gary Scheibe kicked off the luncheon by welcoming all attendees – many in attendance for the first time – and encouraged and applauded the spirit of partnership, community and relationships within the room.
Speakers included Russell White, Baytown Police Department; Richard Retz, Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security, City of Houston; Patrick Gonzales, Harris County Universal Services; Lt. Jeffery Easthagen, Harris County Sherriff’s Office; LCDR Ian Murray, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston; Capt. Jennifer Weaver, Texas Parks & Wildlife; and, Matthew Huerta, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Presentations included highlights of security risks posed and the multi-agency response to Houston Ship Channel emergency situations during the last year. These included a look at the ITC fire response, the Atlas Airline crash, the Fred Hartman Bridge protest incident, and truck recovery as well as the Imelda flood damage at the I-10 bridge at the San Jacinto River.
Attendees received updates on the various Security District initiatives, including the law enforcement support provided by DPS Maritime Analysts, positions within the DPS funded by the Security District in 2018. Analysts have focused on forming partnerships with the maritime industry and relaying threat information and assessments. The analysts attend monthly and quarterly meetings with a diverse cross-section of stakeholders. They each participate in area exercises and training opportunities. Their law enforcement support via case support and analysis has also proven valuable for local partners and DPS units.
Presenters offered a peek at future security enhancements that included expanding interoperability through equipment replacements and upgrades.Vehicles, boats and aircraft from the Security District’s municipal and law enforcement partners were on display on the convention center grounds.
Established in 2009, the Houston Ship Channel Security District is a unique public-private partnership providing an integrated strategy to increase the level of security for both the waterside and landside facilities within the District. It is managed by an 11-member board of directors, eight selected from manufacturing/maritime industry membership and three appointed members. For more information, visit hscsd.org/.