Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Police Launch Patrol Unit for City's Rivers 2 New Boats Reinforce Port and Boater Security

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Police Launch Patrol Unit for City's Rivers 2 New Boats Reinforce Port and Boater Security

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK -- The city police stretched its long arm to the waterways yesterday as it launched two boats that will make up a marine patrol.

Called SPEARS, for Seaport Patrol, Enforcement and Rescues, the marine unit will cover the tidal rivers and streams within the city, Police Chief T.C. Cowan said.

"It's not a full-time function at this time" and no officers are permanently assigned, but it will help Brunswick do its job more quickly, he said.

In the past, the city has had to catch rides with the state Department of Natural Resources or other agencies to investigate crimes on the water or to work rescues, Cowan said.

The boats will also add another measure of security for ships docked at the Port of Brunswick and for recreational boaters, Cowan said.

With the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Navy and Coast Guard have tightened security and the marked police boats equipped with blue lights and sirens will add even more, Cowan said.

It will also add some peace of mind, he said.

"Right now is the time we need to provide the community with visibility. We hope that visibility will help calm the community," he said.

The city had that it in mind when it increased its patrols on the streets, he said.

The boats are equipped with search and rescue gear including throw ropes and flotation devices and the city will keep one on the water for immediate response and another waiting to be moved to an area by road and launched, said Sgt. Kevin Jones, a trained member of the new unit.

Capt. Chris Stewart, commander of the department's Administrative Division, organized the marine patrol unit and is working to get more officers trained. The DNR trained the officers and Cowan said he is hopeful the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center may help with training later. …

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