Middlesex, Ma., Sheriff James DiPaola has done an end-run around state homeland security policy, quietly landing $148,000 in federal crime-fighting cash to buy two boats – one of which he might moor at a private yacht club where he is a member, says the Boston Herald. DiPaola said the Department of Justice money will be used to purchase a 23-foot power boat and a smaller inflatable speedboat. The funding came as a surprise to state public safety officials, who have taken a regional approach to direct crucial anti-terror dollars to agencies and cities most likely to deal with a terror strike.
The cash for DiPaola's new boats comes as the Massachusetts State Police deals with an aging fleet of boats, including one vessel that nearly sunk and had to be towed into Boston Harbor last year. DiPaola argued that his boats will be available to all 54 communities in Middlesex County and can be used for rescues, patrols, and searches along the region's 90 lakes, ponds and rivers. “I don't see where gaining more public safety resources is a bad thing,” he said. “Should I not be going out for more resources? Public safety is everybody's responsibility and it's one that I take very seriously.”