If it’s good enough for New York City, then by golly, it’s good enough for Greenwich!
In fact, the opportunity to say just that has been around for quite a while. Here are some predictions by a cranky Greenwich blogger for this boondoggle, beginning four years ago:
August, 2010: Oh for heaven’s sake, a fireboat for Greenwich?
July, 2011: Do we really need a new fireboat, even a ‘free’ one?
December, 2012: “After waiting 375 years, Greenwich finally gets a fireboat”
Now, after reviewing the records for the cops’ new toy’s first summer in use, Greenwich Time’s Bob Horton has reached a conclusion: The super duper fire boat acquired and now maintained by the town still can find no use.
But boy, ain’t they got fun.
You may remember the debate over the need for this vessel when former Greenwich Fire Chief and current Emergency Management Director Daniel Warzohafirst proposed that the town acquire the customized vessel with a $600,000 grant from the federalHomeland Security Department. As designed, the boat is rigged with instruments that can detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and other explosive devices. It also is fully equipped for firefighting, including a hose that can shoot out up to 2,500 gallons of water per minute, a berth and medical equipment for the treatment of injured victims, a hydraulic hoist and the latest electronic navigation equipment. As E.B. White might have said, “This is some boat.”
The staffing, training, and operating costs required by the boat’s extensive capabilities caused some Representative Town Meeting members to question if the town really needed such a vessel. The Police Department allayed those concerns somewhat when it agreed to retire one of its existing vessels in favor of the new and presumably more efficient Homeland Security vessel.
Fire Chief Peter Siecienski said this week that when Warzoha approached him in 2011 [FWIW – see date of this blog’s first column – Ed] with an opportunity for a new “fire boat,” the chief said his department’s call volume for waterborne capabilities alone could not justify the purchase. Instead, the boat’s extensive uses required a multidisciplinary approach that combined fire, police, and emergency medical response resources.
There was no on-boat training for either firefighters, and instead of being the promised “supplement” to the smaller police patrol boats, the new, much bigger and heavier vessel became the marine division’s go-to boat for routine police patrols on Long Island Sound.
For the season between April 1 and December 1, 2013, the two standard police patrol boats logged 171 and 292 engine hours respectively. Those numbers were dwarfed by the 390 engine hours registered by the new boat, particularly when one considers that the Police Department did not commission the new craft until the end of June, according to Police Chief James Heavey.
What a farce. And who approved this ridiculous new toy? The majority of your neighbors on the RTM and of course, our own Music Man and Fire and Police Commissioner, Peter J. Tesei.