San Diego Harbor Police Officers Double As Maritime Firefighters

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 KPBS
By Matt Hoffman

After completing the police academy, Port of San Diego Harbor Police recruits are thrown into the fire — literally.

“Believe me, when I see those firefighters drive by now, it’s a whole new respect for those guys,” said Mitchell Collier who was a police officer in Hawaii before transferring to San Diego.

All Harbor Police officers are required to complete three weeks of fire training.

“Ninety-five percent or more of what we do on the water is law enforcement based,” said Port of San Diego Harbor Police Officer Matt Oakley. “However, our primary mission on the water is marine firefighting.”
Trainees practice putting out fires on a converted World War II landing craft which simulates different scenarios, like an engine fire.

“You tell yourself it’s really hot you’re going to be able to handle it,” Collier said. “Then, when you get in there, you feel the real heat and it’s a big difference.”

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