By Tamas Mondovics
It is safe to say that to keep their communities and residents safe, local law enforcement agencies are eager to use all the tools they can get their hands on. This was clearly the case last month when members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) command staff was presented with a brand new 40-ft. Intrepid patrol vessel, said to elevate port safety and security for the state’s largest seaport.
Port representatives, HCSO and some of the other project partners were all on hand to witness the occasion on the waterfront near the Tampa Convention Center docks.
The new boat was purchased with a CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear, Explosive) Port Security Grant through the Port Tampa Bay as the fiduciary agent of the grant.
“The citizens of Hillsborough County should be proud of the long term commitment that Port Tampa Bay has shown for public safety and security for the state’s largest seaport,” Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said.
“With this vessel, the sheriff’s marine deputies will now be able to further increase port security.”
According to officials, the vessel is designed and equipped with capabilities that detect Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) devices in order to protect the jurisdiction of the entire port district, from the Skyway Bridge all the way to the cruise terminals at Channelside.
“This type of community partnership exemplifies how by working together, we will all be able to make Hillsborough County a safer place to live and work,” Gee said while commenting on the long list of partners and vendors such as the Port Tampa Bay, Intrepid Power Boats, Quality T Top, Flir, Summit Marine, Sea Star as well as the USF School Engineering.
“This beautiful new vessel brings us to a new level of port safety and represents the most advanced marine vessel technology available to civilian law enforcement,” Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said. “Our port is extremely large and diverse, and the waters of Tampa Bay provide a challenging environment from a security standpoint. This new Intrepid allows our port law enforcement team to provide a higher and more effective standard of monitoring.”