Safeboats New Tool on the Water for VDGIF

RICHMOND , Va., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Conservation police officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) unveiled their newest tool in serving as First Tier Responders for small craft engaged in suspicious...


RICHMOND , Va., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Conservation police officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) unveiled their newest tool in serving as First Tier Responders for small craft engaged in suspicious water-based activities today at an event at Osborne Boating Landing. The two, new 21-foot, 12-man Safeboats will enhance conservation police officers' surveillance, detection, and intervention capabilities as they patrol the Norfolk , Newport News and Portsmouth harbor areas.

The event included brief remarks by Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant , Jr., Secretary of Public Safety John W. Marshall, and Assistant to the Governor for Commonwealth Preparedness Robert P. Crouch followed by a demonstration of how effective a tool the Safeboats will be on the water.

Said Secretary Bryant of the Safeboats, "Acquiring these two Safeboats will allow Virginia's conservation police officers to maximize their daily operations as well as bring even greater resources to surveillance patrols, emergency response, and search and rescue operations. The Safeboats will enhance the Department's reputation as being the 'go to' law enforcement agency for remote areas and waterways."

Since 9/11, VDGIF Law Enforcement officers have been involved in security of critical facilities throughout the Commonwealth. Conservation police routinely patrol Virginia's waterways and serve as the primary port security for small craft (14 to 24 feet). Because conservation police have the authority to board these smaller vessels for safety inspections, they have the ability to be first detectors of improvised explosive devices favored by terrorist groups in maritime attacks.

In addition, VDGIF Law Enforcement personnel, due to their boat handling expertise and equipment, often are called upon for emergency response, such as search and rescue operations. The new Safeboats will enhance conservation police ability to respond to natural disasters such as flooding and hurricanes, and significantly enhance daily operations patrolling the waters of the Commonwealth. Both Safeboats have been outfitted with state-of-the-art technology that enhances surveillance, navigation and communication.

The Safeboats cost approximately $150,000 each and were purchased with funds from a competitive grant through the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Funding from this program supports the capacity to prevent, respond to, and recover from incidents of terrorism (involving chemical, biological, radiological, or explosive weapons) and natural disaster incidents. The grant is monitored through the Department of Criminal Justice Services .

SOURCE Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries