BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Boat season is here, and for Baltimore’s marine police, that means things are about to get intense.
Monique Griego went out on the water to see what they’re gearing up for.
Boat season usually brings an increase of boat crashes and water rescues, but that’s only part of what the marine unit has to deal with. They also respond to a lot of the same calls that street officers do and they have to deal with national security.
“Our job is really no different than the street cop, only we’re on a boat,” said Officer Robert Cortina, Baltimore Police Department Marine Unit.
For Cortina, the spring/summertime rush is drifting in.
“When the warmer temperatures come, this place really fills out. We have a lot of boaters come in here. It’s a very popular spot,” Cortina said.
The Baltimore police marine unit is out on the water year-round. While it’s a small group–just one sergeant and five officers–they have to be ready for anything.
“We get boat fires. We’ve got people falling off, people in the water. We deal with medical emergencies out here,” he said.
Wednesday, they took WJZ around the harbor, but that’s only part of their patrol area. It includes 53 miles of waterfront and stretches all the way to the Key Bridge.
“It’s very challenging. A lot of it comes into experience of being out here,” he said.
Cortina says policing on water has its own unique difficulties. Officers can handle anything from robbery, domestic violence and boat crashes to water rescues.
“They don’t want to stay high-profile, they don’t want to get in the way of people having fun, but they know their mission is necessary,” said Lt. Comm. Charles Thompson, Baltimore Police.
But the unit also has another task.
“We work a lot with Homeland Security and ICE. We do port security with them, so there’s that angle that we do out here also,” said Cortina.
Just one more part of the job that’s about to hit its busy season.
Officers also remind everyone not to drink and boat.
The unit has 10 boats in its fleet. Up to three are out on patrol at one time.
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