FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) covers the city area of Fort Wayne, but what about its most-known natural resource, the three rivers?
Typically patrolled by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), this will be the first year that the new FWPD Boat Patrol will set their aim at patrolling the rivers as well.
“The department saw a need because of the riverfront development,” said Michael McEachern, a Sargaent with the FWPD who will be one of the four members on the new boat patrol.
Before patrolling starts, the department needs a few things: new uniforms, a boat and training.
The new uniforms are quite simple.
“We’ll be dressed as full officers except we’ll be wearing shorts, and maybe a floppy hat,” said McEachern, who also joked that maybe they would wear a pirate hat.
The boat that the unit will use still hasn’t been delivered, but the unit is ready to start working with it.
“Our department just placed an order for a rescue one connector boat,” McEachern said. “It’s a boat specifically designed for rescue operations and public service.”
The flat-bottomed, 16-foot-long boat will be the sole boat the service will use between its four officers.
Officers that still need to complete training before heading out on the water.
Last week, the officers completed training with the DNR to understand how to navigate the rivers, and next week they will undergo specific training in South Bend.
“Next week, we will attend a 40-hour river rescue school,” said McEachern. “We are going to learn how to work on the water as well as operate rescue operations on the water.”
McEachern told WANE 15 that training will be ongoing as the new unit finds its rhythm in its first year operating.
“This year is going to be more forming and training focused, and next year you’ll see us out there more in earnest,” said McEachern.