The Hamptons Police Department revealed plans for an innovative new approach to upholding the law at area beaches and harbors. Starting in summer of 2016, a specially trained unit of elite officers will police local waters (and skies!) using hydroflight technology, including both water jetpacks and jetboards.
“I’ll be honest, several of our officers and our chief thought the idea was absurd at first, but they’ve since recognized the tactical advantages this technology offers,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch said in a press gathering Wednesday. “Hydroflight is a rapidly growing industry, and as far as I know, we’re the first police department in the world to employ it for these purposes.”
Hirsch said the Hamptons Police Department Water Flight Squad, HPDWJS for short, brings much to the table in terms of monitoring the populace, issuing summonses and fighting crime in otherwise difficult aquatic settings. “While HPD has used Jet Skis, Sea-Doos and other personal watercraft, along with boats, of course, during the busy summer months, none of these have the versatility of hydroflight equipment,” Hirsch explained, adding, “With these jetpacks and jetboards, our expertly trained HPDWJS team will have a birds-eye view of swimmers, boaters and personal watercraft riders, coupled with an ease of movement among them, that would be otherwise impossible.”
Before landing on hydroflight as a solution, Hirsch said the department toyed with installing 6–8-foot towers on small Boston Whaler motorboats, but the expanded sight lines came with dangerous instability and far too many capsizes. “Besides, even the smallest motorboat is incapable of safely navigating around people and other crafts in crowded waters,” Hirsch pointed out. “Our new squad solves height and mobility issues while also adding a certain level of shock and awe that stops many perps in their tracks,” Hirsch continued. “Through limited testing last summer, we found many targets would simply stop what they were doing and stare in wonderment at the spectacle of it all—we’d have these guys in cuffs before they knew what hit ’em.”
The spokesman recalled an incident when the squad arrested some pot-smoking kayakers in Lake Montauk. “The subjects were smoking grass out of a 24-inch water pipe right there in the middle of the lake, clearly thinking they were safe from the law,” Hirsch said. “Clearly, they were wrong,” he quipped. “Montauk became a little safer that day.”
For now, the HPDWJS includes four jetpacks, three jetboards and one jetbike, which has not yet been approved for use. They will begin water-based enforcement operations in earnest on June 1, 2016, but Hirsch said the squad may surface from time to time as they continue training, testing equipment and trying new tactics between now and then.