Posted by on March 18, 2005 at 06:47:31:
FAIRHAVEN (Mass) -- The pictures on a monitor attached to a small, video-camera-clad submerged submarine were innocent enough.
On land, members of the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council marine unit looked at clear pictures of crabs, boat hulls and other marine environs around Union Wharf yesterday.
But this was only a training session.
The VideoRay, as the marine rover is known, could be used in serious and dangerous Homeland Security and port security missions to locate bombs, bodies and other objects.
"We were very impressed with the capabilities of the rover," Fairhaven Police Chief Gary F. Souza said.
"It shows a clear picture of the bottom. It's going to be valuable to locate things in the water."
The good thing about the SeaRay is that it can go where no diver can and is equipped with sonar, Chief Souza said.
The law enforcement council purchased the $38,000 rover with a portion of a $350,000 Homeland Security equipment grant.
The rover will stay in Fairhaven but can be used by any of the 20 communities that make up the council, Chief Souza said.
Yesterday, SeaRay representatives trained eight members of the marine unit from Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Dartmouth, Wareham and Taunton how to use the equipment.
The rover connects to a computer system on land with a 250-foot cable.
The operator controls the rover through a series of knobs.
Members of the marine unit will practice in the inner harbor during the coming weeks.
"You get better as you practice more with it," Chief Souza said.
In addition to the rover, the law enforcement council is purchasing a dive truck, a dive trailer, a boat and scuba equipment with the grant.
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