The Chicago Police Department's Marine Unit unveiled a trio of new vessels for patrol and rescue missions today that replace older models and extend police capabilities.
The vessels will be deployed in city waterways, Chicago PD's Deputy Chief Steve Georgas announced at a press conference today.
The Chicago PD acquired a 27-foot Defender model boat, as well as two 44-foot Archangel vessels built to the specifications of the department. The vessels were purchased with a $3.25-million port security grant.
All three boats feature the latest in navigational and surveillance equipment, including color, night vision, and thermal imaging camera and radiation detection functionality. Advanced video capabilities have significant implications for law enforcement and homeland security given the city's vast Operation Virtual Shield camera network.
"The Chicago Police Department serves an integral role in water safety for the city and has a commitment to multiple public safety responsibilities, including search, rescue, and recovery," said Deputy Chief Georgas. "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."
Deputy Chief Georgas urged the importance of boater safety for the public and highlighted several Marine Unit efforts in recovering persons from the water this summer. Chicago Police must cover approximately 81 miles of Lake Michigan and 27 miles of the river system.