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Edgartown Police are assigned to Harbor Patrol

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee received select committee approval yesterday to change the city’s police department’s law enforcement powers and single out all officers from lieutenant down to harbor patrol.

Under Chapter 90B, Section 12 of Massachusetts law, only police officers assigned to patrol the harbor can enforce the state’s boating laws. Police must rely on the Harbor Master, Environmental Protection Police and State Police to make arrests without this designation.

Edgartown police officers have “long participated” in patrolling local waters and share a rescue boat with the fire department, but officers must be assigned to patrol the harbor to maintain the authority to enforce boating regulations and comply with state law, McNamee said.

It’s something we have to do every few years, McNamee said. Service changes meant that some officers had not been “inherited” since the previous chief asked the board to make such an appointment.

McNamee’s request stemmed from a 43-foot speedboat that ran aground on the Edgartown-facing side of Chappaquiddick Beach. Police officers were forced to seek help from the environmental police, but this was not possible on the island. They recommended city officials cooperate with state police.

Fortunately, State Trooper Zachary Bolcome was able to respond to the call on Friday, May 31 at approximately 9:40 p.m., conduct a field sobriety test, arrest the boat operator, and transport him to the Dukes County Jail. To be booked.

“We are fortunate to have had a soldier available. If that wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t be an EPO (environmental police officer) on the island, it would be a difficult situation,” McNamee told the board.

Thirty-two-year-old Riley Blizzard was charged with operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a boat, both misdemeanors. At his June 3 arraignment in Edgartown District Court, he pleaded not guilty and was released on $1,000 bail. He scheduled the next hearing for June 27.

While the event was an anomaly, the board’s unanimous approval “closes a possible loophole” and “gets everyone on the same page,” allowing for easier enforcement of shipping regulations, McNamee said.

While the harbor master will continue to be the primary authority responsible for maritime law enforcement, according to McNamee’s letter to the board, 17 Edgartown police officers currently serve in that role.

“I think if something like this happens, it will put us in a much better position,” Michael Donaroma, the elected chairman of the Edgartown board, said at Monday’s meeting.