The Chicago Police Department's Marine Unit has been outfitted with three new patrol and rescue boats that will replace older models and increase capabilities for police response.
"The CPD serves an integral role in water safety in the City and has a commitment to multiple public safety responsibilities, including search, rescue, and recovery," said Chicago Police Deputy Chief Steve Gorgas. "The waterways are a prime attraction for residents and visitors in the City, and it is imperative to have equipment that will allow service and protection in all capacities."
The CPD secured funding for their Marine Unit operations through a $3.5 million federal Port Security Grant. Their fleet now features three new state-of-the-art patrol and rescue boats, outfitted with the latest navigational and surveillance equipment. New features on the boats include color, night vision, and thermal imaging cameras, as well as radiation detection functionality.
The 27-foot Defender model boat and two 44-foot Archangel vessels were uniquely built to the specifications of the CPD by SAFE Boats International, LLC., a company that makes special safety boats for the military and police organizations across the country.
The video capabilities of the new vessels carry significant implications for law enforcement and homeland security given the city's vast Operation Virtual Shield camera network, states a press release from the Chicago Police Department's Office of News Affairs.
The boats are also designed to increase officer safety and aid in diver recovery from dive operations.
Chicago has seen 82 boating accidents and 16 fatalities since October.
Chicago police jurisdiction on the waterways includes approximately 81 miles of Lake Michigan and 27 miles of the river system, in additional to other scattered areas.