The Marine Patrol Unit provides law enforcement services on the waterways within James City County and security for the waterways and shorelines of surrounding jurisdictions and the Port of Hampton Roads. The MPU consists of 15 members and is supervised by a Police Sergeant. The Police MPU mainly patrols the James and Chickahominy Rivers and a small stretch of the York River.
Most officers assigned to the Unit are primarily assigned to a patrol shift and conduct Marine Patrols on assigned days. The officers of the Unit are Conservation Police Officers by definition of the Code of Virginia and shall have authority to enforce boating and fishing laws and may serve process in all matters arising from violations of such laws.
Marine Patrol officers also conduct search and rescue operations, enforce boating safety laws, respond to emergency calls, investigate criminal activity, and provide counter-terrorism patrols to high-value maritime assets upon request from the Port of Hampton Roads or the United States Coast Guard.
The highly trained members of the MPU are dedicated to providing the highest standard of law enforcement service to the citizens of the County and its visitors.
Marine Patrol Officers are required to complete a state-mandated basic police academy. They then must attend the in-house Basic Marine Patrol Course to learn maritime issues, including boating laws and regulations, boat handling, boat safety, and water rescue techniques.
Officers also attend the regional Search and Rescue Forum each year hosted by the Virginia Port Authority and the U.S. Coast Guard as well as annual refresher training in special maritime law enforcement topics in addition to their required law enforcement annual in-service training.
Through a cooperative Memorandum of Agreement between the James City County Police Department and the United States Coast Guard, the MPU agrees to work with the U.S. Coast Guard to enhance the safety and security of waterways located within the Port of VA. The MPU also works collaboratively with other local and state marine law enforcement entities.