The Coast Guard will soon fly armed patrols over the Connecticut and Long Island coastlines.
The addition of the M240 machine gun to its helicopters, said Capt. Daniel A. Ronan, will serve as one more tool the Coast Guard can use to protect the public.
“We fly near areas where we have critical infrastructure, like the Thames River, Millstone (Power Station) and the port of New Haven with the oil terminals,” Ronan, commander of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, said Monday. “That’s where they’ll be flying, and where people will potentially see them doing a low, slow pass.”
The Coast Guard normally conducts air patrols over these areas, including the Naval Submarine Base, in helicopters to make sure that vessels do not travel too closely near the infrastructure and into the security zones. The patrols with armed helicopters are expected to begin within the next several weeks.
“If someone is in that area, it doesn’t mean we’re going to shoot them,” Ronan said. “Normally it’s because they don’t know the regulations. But if we do determine that someone is in that area and they pose a threat of death or serious bodily injury to the people at that facility or the American public, then we can take action.”