2005-10-27 / News

Police boats may help with harbor duties

By Sam Bari

At last week’s Harbor Commission facilities meeting, Interim Town Administrator Thomas Tighe said that the Jamestown police inflatable boat might be available to help with some of the duties now being handled by the harbormaster’s boat.

In addition, Tighe, who is also the town’s police chief and the harbor commission’s executive director, said that the police department has a Boston Whaler that might be available. He recommended that the harbor commission consider working with the police department to make arrangements to pay an officer and basically hire the boat to do some of the patrolling of the island shores.

At the Oct. 18 meeting, Tighe suggested that purchasing one of the boats or working with the police department to provide a boat and personnel to assist in harbor patrol duties are two options that are open for discussion.

Harbor Facilities Committee Chairman Mike DeAngeli inspired Tighe’s solution when he opened the meeting by reviewing a complaint from Brad Whitman. Addressed to Police Chief Tighe, Whitman’s complaint was about the excessive boat traffic and speeding in Mackerel Cove that was endangering swimmers using the town-owned beach.

At the harbor commission meeting of Oct. 12, the purchasing of another boat as well as the installation of more 5 mph nowake buoys was suggested. Five boundary buoys are now in place keeping boaters outside of the buoy markers.

Harbor Management Commission Chairman Jim Archibald suggested that the matter be part of the agenda to be addressed at the facilities meeting.

Chief Tighe also suggested increasing official presence at Mackerel Cove by assigning a police officer on the weekends to spend several visible hours in the area. He also suggested that paying overtime to have the officer present after 5 p.m., the beach’s normal closing time, when there is no longer lifeguard supervision, would help reduce incidents of certain groups speeding and behaving beyond the limits of the law.

Tighe said that if a few violators were caught and prosecuted, the word would spread that inappropriate behavior would not be tolerated in Jamestown waters, whether it be Mackerel Cove or any other recreational area.

The location of 5 mph no-wake buoys was also discussed. The commissioners agreed that they should be placed where they are clearly visible beyond the buoys marking the swimming area.

Commissioner Bob Bowen suggested amending the eight nowake buoy contract to be increased to at least 10 buoys to include a minimum of two additional buoys for Mackerel Cove.

DeAngeli brought up the possible purchase of an additional boat. However, he noted that budget considerations could be an issue. Bowen suggested selling the Eastern, an aging harbor commission boat that is in need of repairs, and replacing it with a new seaworthy patrol vessel on par with the ARC.

Archibald announced that money is available in the budget for a new boat because the commission has more money than it realized before the annual budget was available.

He suggested that the facilities committee put together a subcommittee to research the market for a new boat that met the criteria to properly serve the community. He noted that $40,146 is currently available in the boat fund.

DeAngeli agreed to explore the boat market as well as make arrangements to discuss working with the police department to consider the available options concerning the use of its boats and personnel.

Following the facilities meeting chaired by Commissioner DiAngeli, Harbor Management Commission Chairman Archibald called a special meeting of the commission to review bids for repairs to the north-facing sea wall at East Ferry and make a recommendation to the Town Council. Archibald made copies of the bids available to the commissioners. Specialty Diving Services of North Kingtown submitted a bid of $79,950 for the work. An $84,900 bid was received from Fielding Construction Company of Pawtucket.

“Do we have enough to do this project?” Archibald asked rhetorically. After reviewing the budget, he noted that approximately $83,000 was carried over that was appropriated for the pier. Over $135,000 in total was earmarked for the project. “Since the bid is far beneath the allotted budget, there is no reason to not move forward,” Archibald said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to accept the bid from Specialty Diving Services and recommend it to the council.

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