Homeland security conducts exercises at Cross Sound Ferry, New London Union Station

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By Patricia Daddona

Publication: theday.com

Published 11/11/2011 12:00 AM

Updated 11/11/2011 07:38 PM

New London — U.S. Homeland Security officials and New London police conducted random security exercises Friday night at Cross Sound Ferry and Friday morning at Union Station.

The exercises in the ferry parking lot, which started at about 3 p.m., and at the train station, which began at 6 a.m., have been going on for a few years, and are intended to serve primarily as a deterrent, said David P. Rodriguez, assistant federal security director for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security‘s Transportation Security Administration.

Signs at the entrance and exits for Cross Sound Ferry advised motorists that a security exercise was in progress.

"It’s random," Rodriguez said. "It’s nothing to do with any intelligence about threats."

Officials do not conduct searches unless warranted, but instead maintain a visibility intended to "detect and deter potential terrorist activity," he said.

"It got your attention," Rodriguez said, "and if the bad guy is thinking of doing something, hopefully he’ll think twice."

New London Police Sgt. Kevin McBride, the department’s homeland security supervisor, was also at Cross Sound Ferry Friday. He coordinates the exercises with Rodriguez, both men said.

The mass transit exercises are conducted irregularly for rail, maritime activities, and buses around the state, they said.

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