Posted: Monday, September9, 2013 9:30 am | Updated: 11:38 am,Mon Sep 9, 2013.
Following an eight-year absence, Annapolis police have returned tothe water.
In July, city police began hitting the city’s waterways in a 28-footMetal Shark Defiant aluminum patrol boat. The boat, powered by twin 250HP outboard engines, was purchased with a $315,000 Port Security Grantfrom the Department of Homeland Security.
Police plan to use the boat to respond to emergencies on the water,assist Coast Guard and Maryland Natural Resources Police withsearch-and-rescue missions and investigate criminal activity.
“It can transport a team of people and equipment quickly,” AnnapolisPolice Chief Michael Pristoop said. “It allows the Annapolis police toget to places when Natural Resources Police and the Coast Guard aren’tclose.”
Though NRP and the Coast Guard have stations in Annapolis, theagencies’ local coverage areas extend beyond the city, Pristoopsaid.
“It gives us more of a guarantee that we can be self-sufficient whenwe need to be,” Pristoop said.
The boat is equipped with sophisticated radar and a Forward LookingInfra Red thermal imaging system. It also can carry up to six peopleand navigate in severe weather conditions.
“Annapolis has 17 miles of shoreline,” Mayor Josh Cohen said. “It’simportant that we have access on the water that’s effective.”
The federal grant was awarded in 2009 after Annapolis was identifiedas needing more maritime law enforcement. The police’s tacticalresponse team has been trained to respond to maritime terrorist eventswith the Maritime Tactical Operations Group, which is composed offederal state and local agencies.
Police received the boat last November. In May, the three officersassigned to the boat completed a month-long maritime training course atthe Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia.
The training was provided through a grant through the city’s Officeof 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 onopen water.
Additional training was provided by NRP.
The police department’s former boat, which could only hold twoofficers, was purchased in 1987 and had deteriorated, policespokeswoman Cpl. Amy Miguez said.
The new boat will be used regularly until after the boat shows inthe city in October. It will be deployed in the winter as needed.