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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Does this float your boat?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For the last two months I have been living vampire hours while covering high school basketball games. That left me out of the informational loop so in getting back with the swing of things I decided to read some back issues of our great paper. That's when I saw that our Sikeston Department of Public Safety was getting an inflatable boat.

After cracking up and checking to make sure it wasn't an April Fool's edition, I realized that yes, our police force now has an inflatable boat. Of course we don't have much water, other than the Complex and Matthew lakes but since when do you need water to have a boat?

Since the money to get the boat came from a grant it didn't cost the city anything, but as with everything in life, nothing is free. For example, since it is an inflatable boat, how are they going to blow it up? Do they have to buy an air machine to blow up the boat or does the rookie officer have the duty of blowing it up? I assume it is a decent-sized boat so the rookie had better have plenty of hot air.

And how does that impact the pursuit time when a boat is needed? If a water bandit is circling the Complex Lake, DPS may have to get them on the second or third lap, depending on the time needed to blow up the boat.

Another question I have is does the boat come with oars? That could be an expenditure unless the officers are forced to paddle with their hands. That could impact pursuit time as well, but since our "lakes" are basically large puddles it is conceivable that the officer just use their hands like babies in a bath tub.

I'm curious as to how much the city will pay in insurance for the boat because it has to be insured. What happens if it is punctured by a stick while scooting around the water? What happens if the boat capsizes and an officer sprains his ankle while standing up in the water so not to drown? Obviously insurance is needed.

I really think DPS will like the boat though. My wife and I bought my dog a pink inflatable boat at Wal-Mart a couple years ago to use in my parents swimming pool. Of course it only cost about $30 as opposed to $19,000 for DPS' inflatable boat. Although the DPS boat does come with a trailer which I'm sure comes in handy. We always just deflate our dog's boat and throw it in the back of my SUV to transport it.

In all seriousness, a boat is something that could be used from time to time. In the story, previous cases where the boat would have been needed was a homicide when a body was dumped in the water and the recovery of stolen property. I guess entering the water from the bank can be a bit dicey.

But I think the boat could have other uses. For instance, the street in front of our office floods in anything more than a drizzle. I'm assuming that since the city now has an inflatable boat, we are allowed to call 911 and say we are stranded. Then DPS can use the boat to help us cross the street without getting our feet and legs soaked. I always hate that.

Of course it's all fun and games until the big earthquake hits and the Mississippi River fills Sikeston streets. Then we will be sitting on the roofs of our houses waiting on DPS to come and get us in the boat. That is, if the rookie doesn't drown before getting the darned thing blown up. Oh well, maybe by then DPS will have a helicopter.

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David Jenkins
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