In order to better protect local shores and keep an eye on East End boaters, the Hamptons Police Department added a military surplus submarine to their fleet this week.
The decommissioned U.S. Navy Virginia-class submarine was taken out of service in 2013 and mothballed for nearly 18 months before ownership was transferred to the Hamptons Police Department.
“I want to emphasize that this submersible craft came at no cost to taxpayers,” Hamptons PD representative Larry Hirsch explains in a press release. “With the blessing of the Hamptons Municipal Board, we requested such a watercraft last year under a federal program to outfit local police departments with surplus military equipment.”
Aimed mainly at counter-narcotic and counter-terrorism operations, this military grade gear—such as heavily armored MRAP vehicles, automatic weapons and body armor—was initially handed out to police departments in border towns and those with serious crime problems. But the need has grown drastically around the country in recent years, and smaller departments in seemingly “safer” areas are getting in on the action.
“While the craft reached the end of its usefulness for the U.S. Navy, the civilian applications of this submersible are numerous,” Hirsch says in the statement. “You never know what’s out there and we’re here to protect the citizenry from the worst case scenario,” he added in a phone call Tuesday. “Imagine the horror people would experience if a large military craft passed beneath their boat or emerged from depths within view of the beach—we’re here to stop that from happening. This sub will make a strong statement about our power and might,” Hirsch continued. “The people want to know their police will do whatever it takes—whatever it takes—to maintain order and control,” he said. “They want to see us as an unstoppable force beyond the reach of sleazy criminals’ lawyers and legal loopholes.”
Named Jaws VIII by Hamptons PD, the submarine will be deployed to patrol the shoreline on weekends only leading up to Fourth of July, when patrols will be stepped up to seven days a week through Labor Day.
Hamptons PD marine patrol officers will be on the lookout for swimmers, surfers and boaters in distress, and will issue tickets to unlicensed operators of motorboats and to operators of all boats that are not carrying personal floatation devices. “We could even depth charge a large shark, should the need arise,” Hirsch said.
The submarine travels between 30 and 35 knots—or 56 to 65 kilometers an hour. It can travel almost the entire distance of the Hamptons’ southern shore in about 70 minutes.
Along with the submarine, Hamptons PD has recently acquired a “whole slew” of military equipment, Hirsch revealed. “As we speak, my men are doing various drills and practice engagements, including Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Mercenary Team Deathmatch, Headquarters, Capture the Flag, Team Tactical, Kill Confirmed and Search and Destroy scenarios,” he said.