Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cops on Cruise Ships

Is it really necessary to hire cops to police cruise ships? Apparently one California state senator thinks so and has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require cruise ships sailing from that state's ports to have one aboard.

State Senator Joe Simitian (D), author of the bill, reasons, "We've got air marshals on planes with a couple hundred passengers, but we've got no one on board the cruise ships with 10 times the number of passengers." Has the senator ever been on a cruise ship? He apparently doesn't realize that cruise lines have security personnel in place aboard every ship afloat. In any case, state residents will be pleased that the senator won't require them to pony up tax dollars to pay for state law enforcement at sea. Police officers' salaries would be funded by a $1 per day passenger fee. In addition to being peace-keepers, the senator also proposes that officers would serve as "licensed marine engineers to monitor compliance with environmental laws." He's been a big supporter of such environmental laws in the past.

Excuse me, but how dumb is it to expect a policeman to be qualified to handle the duties of a licensed marine engineer? And, what's the jurisdiction here? The senator's California bill is modeled after Alaska's ocean ranger program. Has anyone in Calfornia taken notice of how "successful" the Alaska program has been since that state's voters passed a 2006 initiative to place Coast Guard-licensed environmental engineers aboard cruise ships? Take a look at where it stood last month.

We have one word for this proposal... DUH. Check the LA Times for the details behind this ill-conceived plan and its supporters.

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