Jul 28, 2014

Patrolling Stratford's Waterways [Photos+Video]

Stratford police took us for a ride on their patrol boat last week.

The 's sole patrol boat is a smooth ride.

At 50 miles per hour (or about 43 knots), the powerboat moves more like a Mercedes than a 13,000-pound vessel.

The $300,000 boat was purchased in 2010 largely with federal grant money from the Department of Homeland Security, according to Glenn Ponganis, one of the two officers on the department's marine unit.

The other officer is Joe Maida. Both Ponganis and Maida live within five minutes travel of the boat, which is kept at Brewer's Marina at the foot of Broad Street. They are on call 24/7.

Last week the officers treated a couple members of the local press to a free ride.

Having a presence on Stratford's waterways and making sure that boaters are safe is the main objective of the marine unit, Ponganis said. The secondary mission, he said, is enforcement.

Here are some other facets of the patrol and the custom-built boat:

  • Both Shelton and Derby do not have a patrol boat so Stratford assists those towns.
  • The biggest complaint on Stratford's waterways is speeding, which carries a $75 ticket.
  • Speed limit in posted areas is 5 miles per hour.
  • Patrol covers Stratford's marinas, bridges and 15 miles of coastline.
  • Busiest days on the water include Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
  • The boat is equppied with an infrared camera which picks up heat in the water so it can detect bodies beneath the surface.
  • The boat is able to pull right up to another vessel for easy boarding.

Photo Gallery

Don’t miss updates from Patch!