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Armored Vehicles Beef Up District

Shortly after Port Washington battled the effects of Superstorm Sandy last year, the police district decided to take advantage of a federal program that enabled it to obtain excessed army vehicles at no cost to local tax payers.

Deputy Chief Ronald DeMeo told the Port Washington News that during and after the storm our community was at the mercy of the state and the county to provide the vehicular assistance we needed. “There were areas that it was difficult for us to get to in order to evacuate residents and deliver EMS personnel in case of emergencies.” Although the situation worked out well, the district took another look at what they might need in the event of another natural disaster and decided to participate in the federal program.

Money for the maintenance and repair of these vehicles is taken from Asset Forfeiture Funds. This is money confiscated from criminals that is distributed to the police district because of its participation with federal authorities in investigations leading to arrests and convictions.

In order to be proactive on behalf of the community, the department has also upgraded body armor and high powered rifles. “We hope to never have to use any of these resources, but we pride ourselves on being prepared and ahead of the curve. We hold mock drills throughout the community to ensure that we are ready to protect residents in any eventuality,” said DeMeo.

DeMeo said the realities of police work have changed dramatically since the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech, resulting in the re-examination of processes and procedures. Before these incidents standard protocol was for first responders to establish a perimeter and wait for reinforcements. Now first responders enter upon arrival in an effort to minimize the loss of life.

DeMeo thinks we will be seeing a growing trend in surrounding villages towards acquisition of excessed military vehicles, upgraded body armor and high powered rifles.