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police & fire

Norwalk Police Boat Returned Better Than Ever

NORWALK, Conn. – There are bunks below the cabin of Norwalk's "newest" police boat and maintenance will be much easier than it was when the department last had access to a boat that a big more than a year and a half ago.

The "new" boat is the old boat. Marine Unit One was returned to the department about a month ago after undergoing a complete refurbishment. Everything was stripped out of the 20-year-old boat, Sgt. Pete Lapak said. New equipment was installed. The hull was repainted a steel grey color, which will be much easier to maintain than the white paint it used to bear.

"Basically, they took everything out of the boat, sandblasted it, and put all new stuff in," Lapak said. "We'll get another 20 years out of it. Much cheaper than a new boat."

The refurbishment cost $172,275, Chief Thomas Kulhawik said. Most of that was from capital funds approved a few years ago, with asset forfeiture funds making up the rest of it, he said. Kulhawik figures the refurbishment probably saved $150,000 to 200,000 over the price of a new boat.

Officer John Taranto said the 30-foot boat gives rescuers the platform they need for large incidents. New equipment includes forward looking infrared (FLIR) cameras.

Lapak said the boat gives the department year-round response capability.

"Now we have a sheltered area to put people," he said. "The duck hunters go out year round, the oyster boats go out in January."

Correction made 1:51 p.m.

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