CrimeWatch: APD Gets 2 New Boats - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

CrimeWatch: APD Gets 2 New Boats

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The Austin City Council approved Thursday two new boats for the Austin Police Department just in time for the busiest weekend of the year.

One of the five boats is a fishing boat that is so old; you can see cracks which indicate structural problems.

Senior Patrol Officer, Jeff Joseph, says, "There’s something happening underneath that we can't see."

The boat's hull flexes. "Boats generally shouldn't flex like that." The middle console jumps around when the boat gets going.

Joseph says, "It's scary. It feels like it's going to fall down on you when you're driving."

"They've had to reinforce this console oh, half a dozen times."

The deck has also weakened over time. The boat is twelve years old. It has failed inspection at least once.

Joseph says, "As you can feel when boats are going around, it rocks a lot. It's intended to sit in the ocean, do some fishing."

The boat is the same one that rescued a woman right before her boat and her friend went through the Tom Miller Dam in 2005.

Surveillance video captured the woman dangling on a rope, and an officer catching her. The officer's first rescue attempt ended with his single engine boat stalling out and he was almost sucked into the dam too.

"The engine actually died on here and our boat slammed into the dam and was in danger of going through."

The officer's second attempt was the successful one. That incident is exactly why Austin Police say twin engine boats are necessary.

"After that, we've come to decide that if we have man patrol boats on this lake, they should have twin engines so we don't run into that problem again."

Austin police asked for two new boats.

"The boats we're asking for are very stable, they've made to sit still next to another boat.”

The Memorial Day Holiday weekend is the busiest of the year for APD on Lake Austin. Extra staff are patrolling with a boating while intoxicated and a driving while intoxicated initiative underway. Such hectic weekends only highlight the need for newer equipment.

Joseph says, "Don't have the confidence in it that it'll do what you want it to do when you ask it to do it but more importantly, the fatigue factor cause it's really tiring a to be on the water on a really busy day for 6 to 8 hours a day."

Even a boater, who was stopped for a safety check, agrees.

Drax Marlow says, "It's a little old and beat up."

The bottom-line is that the maintenance cost of the boat outweighs the cost of actually keeping the boat.

APD is expected to get the new boats in about 3 months.

Follow Jenni at Twitter@jennileefox7.
 

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