Boat patrol proposed for Hampton Ponds

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Residents of the Hampton Ponds section of the city may see a vastly increased presence on the ponds this summer if Police Chief John Camerota is able to realize an enforcement proposal he made at Monday’s meeting of the city’s police commission.

Camerota said that the residents of the area are “starving for some law enforcement on the water” and reported that he has developed a plan to respond to their needs. He said that he has researched the problem and found that neither the state nor the environmental police forces are in a position to provide boat patrols on the pond but the city may be able to fill the vacuum.

Camerota explained that efforts had been made to address the problem of not being able to respond to boating complaints in the past but said “we were never able to get to the enforcement level and we’re really trying to get there this year.” “There’s a family that wants to give us a pontoon boat at a very very reasonable cost,” he said. He said that he consulted Fire Chief Mary Regan while planning his proposal because there are “many many medical calls up there during the summer” and said “it would be in their best interest to have a paramedic on board with us.”

Camerota said that the boat under consideration is big enough to comfortably carry as many as six persons, has plenty of room for necessary equipment and is well suited to operations on the ponds. Although the boat is used, he said “The boat is perfect. We saw it, it would certainly suit our purposes.”

He also said that he has consulted the state police to consider jurisdictional concerns and reported to the commissioners that the colonel of the state police has assured him that the city’s department would be given “concurrent jurisdiction” to give boat patrol officer authority to work on any part of the ponds. With the support of the commission, Camerota said that he will prepare a proposal for the mayor and city council seeking their support too. He said that the city department is in the process of getting information from Southwick police, who operate a patrol on the Congamond Lakes, about the rules, regulations and training necessary for officers staffing a boat patrol and said that once that information is received and evaluated a plan will be formulated suitable for operations on the Hampton Ponds by city officers.

Media Credit: The Westfield News

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