Houston Ship Channel Security District

A first of its kind public/private partnership advances security along the ship channel. Harris County Commissioners have approved the creation of the Houston Ship Channel Security District. Rod Rice reports similar efforts have failed in other areas.

Everybody wants security, but paying for it has been the stumbling block, according to the Port of Houston's Acting Executive Director Wade Battles.

"What we struggled with was setting up a way to be able to set up a process that created the sustainability that created this revenue stream to be able to support the on going maintenance and operational costs of our new security systems."

That's been the problem elsewhere, but not here.

Pat Bellamy is Chairman of the Houston Ship Channel Security District Steering Committee. He says this security plan worked because it came from the private sector.

"Very few of these efforts are industry driven. Typically people go to industry and ask and talk to industry about that, but industry came to us, government in essence, to create this, they saw the need."

The Port's Wade Battles says what industry realized is that real security must holistic.

"Each individual facility can't have security just by itself. There's got to be linkages, and the challenge has always been how do you put a program in place that's addressing the situation with multiple facilities both public and private."

Private security at each facility, the Harris County Sheriffs Department and the U.S. Coast Guard will work co-operatively to protect the ship channel area and to it back in business should a disaster strike.

Pat Bellamy says the next step will be select the board members who will oversee the project.


Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...