I first noticed Lt. Mark Long, Orange County's harbormaster, while attending a Harbor Commission meeting at the end of 2009. He had just arrived in town and his photo had been in the press.
Long was in his street clothes.
"This guy gets it," was the first thing that came to mind. He was reaching out to the community and dressing like his customers. I hadn't realized it before, but it is a lot easier for me to approach and talk to a person dressed like myself than walk up to someone wearing a uniform, gun, radio and bulletproof vest.
I later saw Long at another harbor meeting and at different yacht club functions around town. By mid-summer he was sailing in the beer can races.
It also appeared that the county's Marine Operations had stepped it up by a notch or a few. Sheriff's deputies seemed to be doing more training exercises, such as boat crash simulations with the local lifeguards and fire departments, jumping out of helicopters with dive gear on and participating more with border protection and anti-terrorist agencies.