Southold Police adds new vehicle to fleet

01/14/2014 1:00 PM |

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley shows off the town’s new police van to the Town Board Tuesday morning.

Southold Town police unveiled a state-of-the-art, fully equipped police command van Tuesday morning, which has enhanced capabilities to protect critical infrastructure such as Plum Island and Cross Sound Ferry.

The $184,000 van was funded entirely by a Buff Zone Protection Program grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the police department obtained in 2011, Police Chief Martin Flatley said.

The van arrived in December, Chief Flatley said, tailored to Southold Town’s specific needs, such as radio frequencies.

During Tuesday morning’s town board work session the chief showed off the van, which includes extensive radio communication capabilities to various emergency agencies and an extendable external camera with 360-degree views.

The van can relay information and images to police headquarters in Peconic, Chief Flatley said. Additional space in the rear of the vehicle can be used for a six-person conference room, he said.

“It sounds like something out of an NCIS episode,” councilwoman Jill Doherty said. “It is very cool.”

However, there is a problem, Chief Flatley pointed out.

“I have no place to park it,” he told the board Tuesday morning.

Chief Flatley said he is currently working with the town’s department of public works to find a spot to park the 12-foot high vehicle during the winter months.

In the future, Chief Flatley hopes the existing fueling shed behind police headquarters can be converted to store the vehicle, once the town constructs its new consolidated fueling station at the highway department building.

“We are really just looking for four walls and a roof to house it,” he said.

The board voted to approve the new fueling station last year as a part of a $3.5 million upgrade to the highway department facility on Peconic Lane in Peconic. The renovations are expected to take up to nine months to complete, councilman William Ruland said Tuesday.

“That is probably the best use of [the police station’s fueling shed],” he said. “With a minimum amount of work you can repurposes it as a space for long time use.”

Chief Flatley said he hopes to start training his force on the new van on Plum Island next month.

cmurray@timesreview.com