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U.S., Canadian agencies hold security drills on Detroit River

More than three-dozen U.S. and Canadian agenciesparticipated in a mock-disaster situation on the Detroit River Tuesday.

The drills included a mock terrorist attack on a large riverboat, and a follow-up search-and-rescue operation.

Officials say the exercise caps three years of interagency planning to prepare for possible disasters along the international maritime border.

 Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley attended the exercises in Detroit. He says he was impressed by the level of inter-agency coordination.

“I think we’re as prepared as we ever have been. But it’s also important to note that you never reach that point where you’re perfect. That we’re always looking for opportunities to be better, to be more prepared, and to put us in the best position to protect citizens and their property here in the state.”

The exercises continue Wednesday with a mock oil spill on the river.

Detroit Congressman Hansen Clarke says the exercises are a good start. But he says they also proved that part of the border needs more federal security resources.

“It should make common sense that we need more resources here in Metro Detroit to help protect us. Because we’re on a border, we’re gonna face much more challenges than another area.”

Clarke says there’s a particular need to improve the emergency communications infrastructure between the two nations.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.