Hamptons Police Department insiders have leaked plans for an upcoming “Parade of Might,” styled after military displays in totalitarian nations and featuring officers and vehicles, with their famous Virginia-class nuclear submarine, Jaws VIII, as its centerpiece. Several local officials have quietly begun a campaign to stop the parade, which will cost taxpayers upwards of $1.5 million.
According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the parade concept began germinating after new Hamptons Police Submarine Unit Captain and salty sea dog Curly McGruff suggested the department, and especially his unit, could benefit from giving the community “a fear and pride injection.” After weeks of talks, the Parade of Might took shape, though officials and department heads are still working out the logistics of getting the submarine out of the water and on wheels for this show of police strength.
Only one Hamptons official, Devin Schade, agreed to speak publicly against the Parade of Might. “This thing is an absurd idea,” Schade said. “Several local programs will be shelved if tax dollars are so irresponsibly diverted in this way,” he continued, adding, “Does the Hamptons Police Department really need to behave like a miniature North Korea to gain back the public trust?”
Hamptons PD hired McGruff, a well known Montauk fishing charter captain, in late December to relieve embattled HPD Submarine Unit Captain Finn Zorn of his post. Zorn’s public image fell under a cloud in August 2016 after he torpedoed a party boat off Montauk because he believed it carried a cache of weapons. The “weapons,” it turns out, were actually just a gleaming collection of vodka bottles.
Though Zorn was eventually acquitted of wrongdoing, public sentiment toward his unit, and the HPD in general, took a dark turn and was not seen to improve, even after the submarine remained out of action for the entire summer of 2017. According to local polling, McGruff’s hiring has gone a long way toward restoring trust, and the HPDSU will return to the sea for summer 2018.
The Parade of Might would kick off this year’s busy season—traveling along Old Montauk Highway, from the Shinnecock Canal to Montauk Point and back—on Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Following the festivities, the submarine and other Hamptons Police vehicles and officers will immediately begin the business of keeping the peace.
Before any of that can happen, the Hamptons Municipal Board must pass a resolution in favor of the plan. Opposition to the Parade of Might has yet to be fully revealed, but the spectacle won’t get underway without a fight.