Abyss Force: A Deep Dive into Hamptons Police Department’s New Team

Hamptons Police Department Abyss Force divers in training
Abyss Force divers in training, Photo: 123RF

Following recent revelations from their 2020-21 budget, the Hamptons Police Department shared details about a specific, standout line item: The new, deep-sea law enforcement team, currently called “Abyss Force.”

According to HPD spokesman Rex Gallant, the Department had intentionally remained mum about Abyss Force, knowing full well they would have to speak about it after releasing the new budget, which sets $3,506,000 aside for the program. “Being that Abyss Force is an untested and very new endeavor, we’ve kept the costs down as much as possible,” Gallant said. “This includes $120,000 to pay our new Abyss Force Chief, Vern Jewels; $66,000 to train six of our existing officers in their new roles—that’s $11,000 each; plus $2.12 million for a pair of personal submersible watercraft; and another $1.2 million for all the necessary equipment to make this whole thing work,” he continued, adding, “And I’m sure you remember the $650 million, that we did not end up approving, for a fully functional undersea headquarters, which, depending on the program’s success, may come later.”

The official announcement, sent to local press this week, explains, “Abyss Force will protect and serve in the deepest waters of the region, serving justice where the Hamptons Police Department has never been able to operate before.”

HPD reports that the new team will be specially trained and equipped to traverse and patrol wide swaths of the sea, from the ocean basin (or floor) all the way up to the epipelagic zone and everything in between. “The team will primarily work down in the dark,” Gallant told Dan’s Papers. “Their training will have them functioning optimally in the abyssopelagic and bathypelagic zones, which is quite deep and beyond the sun’s reach.”

Gallant acknowledged that Abyss Force will do a great deal of recovery work, finding sunken ships and assets, but he said there are also natural threats and human crimes at these depths. “You’d be surprised what else goes on down there,” Gallant pointed out. “Our team will keep a vigilant watch and stop all manner of beasts from crossing our borders into the shallows, where local swimmers and boaters are most vulnerable, and they’ll stand against smuggling and other crimes when those problems arise.”

A former Navy Seal frogman and deep-sea saturation diver with hundreds of hours logged, Abyss Force Chief Jewels is already hard at work handpicking his team members from the existing pool of HPD officers and planning their training and operations. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this new project, and I vow to make sure my recruits are the very best the Hamptons Police Department has to offer,” Jewels said. “This unprecedented program will likely become the most spectacular and important branch of the HPD, and we’ve got some really cool patches in the works to prove it.”

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