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Annapolis Police Back on the Water With New Patrol Boat

Sep 09, 2013

Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 9:30 am | Updated: 11:38 am, Mon Sep 9, 2013.

Following an eight-year absence, Annapolis police have returned to the water.

In July, city police began hitting the city’s waterways in a 28-foot Metal Shark Defiant aluminum patrol boat. The boat, powered by twin 250 HP outboard engines, was purchased with a $315,000 Port Security Grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Officers have been patrolling local waterways on the boat regularly on weekends.

Police plan to use the boat to respond to emergencies on the water, assist Coast Guard and Maryland Natural Resources Police with search-and-rescue missions and investigate criminal activity.

“It can transport a team of people and equipment quickly,” Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop said. “It allows the Annapolis police to get to places when Natural Resources Police and the Coast Guard aren’t close.”

Though NRP and the Coast Guard have stations in Annapolis, the agencies’ local coverage areas extend beyond the city, Pristoop said.

“It gives us more of a guarantee that we can be self-sufficient when we need to be,” Pristoop said.

The boat is equipped with sophisticated radar and a Forward Looking Infra Red thermal imaging system. It also can carry up to six people and navigate in severe weather conditions.

“Annapolis has 17 miles of shoreline,” Mayor Josh Cohen said. “It’s important that we have access on the water that’s effective.”

The federal grant was awarded in 2009 after Annapolis was identified as needing more maritime law enforcement. The police’s tactical response team has been trained to respond to maritime terrorist events with the Maritime Tactical Operations Group, which is composed of federal state and local agencies.

Police received the boat last November. In May, the three officers assigned to the boat completed a month-long maritime training course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia.

The training was provided through a grant through the city’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management.

“It was a very intense course,” officer Brett Schrack said, explaining that it taught boating maneuvers in close quarters and on open water.

Additional training was provided by NRP.

The police department’s former boat, which could only hold two officers, was purchased in 1987 and had deteriorated, police spokeswoman Cpl. Amy Miguez said.

The new boat will be used regularly until after the boat shows in the city in October. It will be deployed in the winter as needed.

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