Law enforcement practices fighting attacks along the Missouri River

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PARKVILLE, Mo. -- Dozens of emergency responders were on the Missouri River Tuesday to test their response to dangers and attacks the could happen along the water.

The Missouri River is home to many critical control centers including bridges, pipelines and power plants, any of which could be a tempting target for terrorists.

Tuesday morning at least six boats from the Missouri Highway Patrol, state conservation department and other local agencies launched into the river to see how these different responders would work together to fight a threat.

Kansas City has been proactive in making sure different police and sheriff's departments in the metro can talk to each other. But when you're dealing with the river, there are many more jurisdictions, including state and federal agencies, that aren't used to working together.

"You have a lot of commercial traffic that goes up and down the river," said Capt. Erik Holland of the Platte County Sheriff's Department. "A lot of businesses, infrastructure. So it's important for us to test our response capability, our communications capabilities and our incident command system for a river incident."

Federal agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, FBI and Transportation Safety Administration all have roles in protecting the port of Kansas City, a riverfront area more than 100 miles long. Rail yards, chemical plants and petroleum tank farms also are critical infrastructure along the water that must be protected should natural or man-made dangers threaten them.