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Cadets Train To Detect Drugs

by Stefanie Senkow
July 23, 2018

Cadets Train To Detect Drugs8 NEW LONDON, Conn. -- Drug interdiction. It’s a Coast Guard career path that brings exhilarating new challenges every day, and at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, cadets are experiencing the undertakings of these missions, first-hand.

For the first time in recent history, two cadets were given the opportunity to spend their summers in Opa Locka, Florida with Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South, the Coast Guard’s law enforcement interdiction team, to experience the operational side of interdiction law enforcement and learn how IONSCAN, a scientific instrument used to detect narcotics, is used out in the fleet. For First Class (1/c) Cadets Nicholas Remke and Dat Do, seeing their classroom studies in action is incredibly rewarding.

“These two cadets were selected to participate in this seven-week training program for newly reported TACLET South personnel who will be assigned to a Law Enforcement Detachment. This program familiarizes personnel with all training requirements, mission objectives, weapon certifications, IONSCAN operation, and provides an opportunity to qualify as a TACLET South boarding team member,” said TACLET South Commanding Officer Joseph Meuse.

In addition to the arduous physical training, 1/c Remke and 1/c Do will see how the knowledge they learned in the classroom applies directly to TACLET South’s drug interdiction missions.

“In class, the cadets do research with the IONSCAN – discovering its capabilities and limitations. At TACLET South, they’re seeing how it’s used in a mission. This brings the experience full-circle and helps inform future research,” said CDR Joe Brown, Ph.D., Chemistry Section Chief at the Academy.

This unique experience arose from a former chemistry faculty member who expressed an interest in getting cadets involved in the implementation of the IONSCAN for trace detection of narcotics.

“During an illicit drugs class I taught, I had the Commanding Officer for TACLET South come in as a guest speaker, talking about the operational & education side of the counter narcotic mission. From there, we agreed to have cadets join the team and take part in this exciting line of work,” said CDR Brown.

“We are currently underway with training and Cadet Remke and Cadet Do have exemplified themselves with their positive attitude and physical fitness. We are thrilled to have them and will be working with the Academy to get more cadets here next summer,” said CDR Meuse.

Besides gaining invaluable real-world Coast Guard experience at the end of this summer assignment, both cadets will likely become qualified TACLET boarding team members.

“It’s a great foot-in-the-door opportunity because after this training, we’ll know what to expect and how to be successful in these missions should we pursue this career path,” said 1/c Remke.