9/1/2011 : Sheriff Torres Spearheads Counterterrorist Task Force JTF7
As the nation prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, seven sheriffs in the Greater Baton Rouge area have also been making preparations to come together, forming a counterterrorist task force, Joint Task Force Seven (JTF7).  JTF7 is a law enforcement task force created to protect the vital infrastructure of the Greater Baton Rouge Area.

Even before September 11, the Port of Baton Rouge and the Mississippi River have always been considered valuable yet vulnerable resources.  The Port of Baton Rouge is situated on one of the largest port systems in the world (the lower Mississippi River port system from Baton Rouge to the mouth of the Mississippi River), which contains four of the top 11 ports in the country.  The Port of Baton Rouge ranks among the top 13 ports in the nation.  The port is strategically located at the convergence of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and it is the farthest inland deepwater port on the Mississippi river.  This strategic placement makes it the ideal location for larger petrochemical companies and their associated industries to settle throughout the 85 miles of the Mississippi River within the port’s jurisdiction.

These private sector industries are constantly faced with the challenge of how to fulfill United States governmental and industrial regulations set for high-risk chemical facilities, and for the waterways upon which they travel.  JTF7 can provide the security needed to help the private sectors stay in compliance, while protecting their interests and saving lives through their unique partnership with the private sector.

Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres, who spearheaded JTF7 said, “Law enforcement officials have been looking at counterterrorist measures since the early 80’s, and it became obvious what needed to transpire.  In order for our government and industry to protect lives and property, we have to come together.” 

JTF7 is comprised of the seven sheriffs in the areas surrounding Greater Baton Rouge: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff, Sid Gautreaux; Ascension Parish Sheriff, Jeff Wiley; West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff, Mike Cazes; Iberville Parish Sheriff, Brent Allain; West Feliciana Parish Sheriff, Austin Daniel; East Feliciana Sheriff, Talmadge Bunch; and Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff, Bud Torres.

JTF7 is supported by the initial investment of the seven sheriffs, which includes SWAT team members who are POST certified commissioned deputies with arrest powers; pre-existing basic equipment such as patrol cars, weapons and radios; as well as some specialized equipment including six patrol boats, two UTV’s, two Bearcat assault vehicles, one OH58, IEDK-9s, dive team equipment, SRT weapons and tools.

In the event of terrorist attack, sabotage, or incident, in any of the surrounding Greater Baton Rouge Parishes, this highly trained task force could be on hand in a moment’s notice to assist the Sheriff.  In addition to emergency response, on a daily basis JTF7 members can be found performing pre-scheduled routine facility patrols, providing facility support through ground teams, patrolling the waterways, providing escort services for hazardous materials along the Mississippi river, and administering security tabletop training with their industrial partners.

In addition to the Sheriff’s initial investments additional funding is provided through the Port of Baton Rouge, made possible by a 6 million dollar Homeland Security Grant.  JTF7 will also be partnering with its private sector industry partners to develop sustainment funding and become the first of its kind, multi-agency cooperative endeavor.

Sheriff Torres said, “Through cooperative endeavors like JTF7, we can meet the demands of the future, and hopefully serve as a model pattern for other jurisdictions nationwide.” 

On the Net:
Port of Greater Baton Rouge:
Terror by the sea:  The unique challenges of port security:

Lauren Labbé Meher
Communications Director

      1175 Nicholson Drive | Baton Rouge, LA 70802 | t. 225.343.8402 | f. 225.336.0343
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