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Fairfield Cops Upgrade Marine Unit

If you're a fan of the high seas, you might see a new vessel speeding around Fairfield's shores this summer. Who has the money to buy a new speedboat in this economy and in the dead of winter? Try the Fairfield Police Department.

Deputy Chief Chris Lyddy took a proposal for a new boat to Fairfield's Board of Selectmen on Wednesday evening. The 33-foot triple-engine boat would replace the Marine Unit's current 16-year-old 27-footer. "There's nothing this new boat can do that the old one can't do," Lyddy told the board.

Still, the new boat will have its advantages. It's the same model the U.S. Coast Guard uses in this area, so Fairfield's police officers and Coast Guard agents would be able to cooperate much easier. Lyddy called the new boat a "regional asset," because it will shore up patrols of not just Fairfield's harbor, but also neighboring Bridgeport, Westport and other towns along the coast.

The Marine Unit mostly handles rescue missions, helping sinking or damaged boats. They also help search for missing people or vessels from towns along the coast.

Lyddy assured the selectmen that the boat would make money for the town. The department won a federal grant to cover the cost of the boat and the training for the officers expected to man it. The town will then sell the old one and put the proceeds into the town's general fund.

"I'm definitely in support of this," said Selectman Jim Walsh. "I just wanted to get some kind of commitment that we'll get some of our money back that we've used over the years."

Do you use Fairfield's harbors? What do you think of security there currently? Sound off in the comments below.

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