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NEWS | May 3, 2017

Lowcountry neighbor provides local, national and international training

By Coast Guard Lt. Mike Browning Maritime Law Enforcement Academy

The Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) co-located with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in North Charleston provides Law Enforcement (LE) training to more than 2000 active duty and reserve members annually.


The MLEA was established in 2004 to prepare Coast Guard (CG) personnel to perform the duties of maritime law enforcement officers across more than 400 cutters, boat stations and other LE units nationwide.


The MLEA offers 14 different training programs including basic and advanced level courses. Students typically graduate from a basic LE course and return later for more advanced classes such as maritime counter-drug trafficking, radiation detection, anti-terrorism and non-compliant vessel pursuit training.


MLEA has 161 dedicated instructional staff members assigned to ensure the most relevant and high quality training is delivered to the students.


Training provided at the MLEA is highly sought after by the International LE community.


The MLEA is known around the world for providing the best and most efficient maritime law enforcement training programs. Each year approximately 60 LE officers from 29 different nations graduate basic LE programs. Those international students take MLEA’s best practices back with them to improve their agencies’ programs.


Currently, a Lt. Cmdr. from the Indian Coast Guard, a Lt. from Mozambique and a fisheries officer from Kiribati are attending the basic boarding officer course. Throughout the year we will train students from various countries such as Germany, Vietnam, Egypt, Iraq, and Haiti to name a few. The MLEA also sends highly qualified instructors to Yorktown, Virginia once a year to lead the international boarding officer course to train foreign military officers from around the world.


The MLEA supports a unique partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) providing training for approximately 75 CG and Canadian LE officers each year. This specialized training program known as the Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operation (ICMLEO) course has been available since 2010. The ICMLEO course teaches CG and RCMP officers how to work as a team on both sides of the US/Canadian border. The goal of this partnership is to prevent criminals from using the border to avoid prosecution. The program has been successful in seizing contraband including tobacco, weapons, methamphetamine and cocaine.


Additionally, the MLEA sends instructors to the Caribbean annually to participate in Tradewinds a high-level joint-agency training exercise led by U.S. Southern Command. In 2016, during Tradewinds, MLEA instructors participated with 17 other nations in exercises designed to help international partners effectively combat trans-national organized crime. During this event, MLEA’s instructors facilitated training on counter-trafficking, human-trafficking, non-compliant vessel pursuit and anti-terrorism techniques.


Although the MLEA is one of the smaller CG training centers it punches above its weight when it comes to impacting many parts of the world. And it all happens right here in the Lowcountry.