Feds approve grant for new police boat in Stonington

Stonington — The police department will be getting a new boat.

Police Chief J. Darren Stewart said that he received notice from the federal Department of Homeland Security Tuesday that it has approved the department’s request for a $375,000 port security grant to purchase the boat.

Stewart said the grant was the result of the persistence of Capt. Jerry Desmond who did the research, wrote and submitted the grant and then continued to seek approval even after the initial request was unsuccessful.

Desmond has said the town’s 24-foot, 200-horsepower boat, which was given to the department by an anonymous donor 13 years ago, is requiring more and more maintenance and will need to be replaced in several years.

The new boat would be larger and faster and have sophisticated sonar and radar systems. It also would be able to operate in more extreme weather conditions than the current boat.

By accepting the grant, the town agrees that the boat would be available to respond to major incidents in nearby towns.

Desmond has said the town would have to pay for the boat up front, then be reimbursed by the grant. But he said that process has taken only a month or two in other towns.

Stewart said Desmond and the department will now continue their research into testing boats, selecting a design and deciding how to outfit the boat.

They have also been talking to several other police departments in the region which have received homeland security grants to by new boats.

Stewart said he could not estimate when the new boat will be on the water.

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