Much-needed gift arrives for Marine police at Lake Martin

Updated: Nov. 16, 2017 at 4:58 PM CST
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

LAKE MARTIN, AL (WSFA) - Marine Police Trooper Gary Buchanan can't wait to captain his new patrol boat and test out the sophisticated radar that will soon sit atop of the cabin.

"Sure this is a piece of equipment we haven't had on an inland lake in the past," said the veteran lawman.

When Jesse Cunningham heard the state purchased a new patrol boat for Lake Martin, he knew he wanted to add to a gift. The Lake Martin Homeowners and Boatowners Association collected $2,500 and bought a 15 lb. rada that was formally accepted Thursday during a brief ceremony on the shores of Lake Martin.

"What can we do to help you and this was an idea they had," said Cunningham.

Marine police say the radar is so powerful that it's more than capable of penetrating through the fog on the lake at night.

"The obstacles in the waterway or whatever in order for us to avoid them and actually locate the vessel," said Alabama Marine Police Chief Steve Thompson.

It's encouraging news for area rescue teams because they can get behind the Marine patrol boat and assist in a search or rescue.

"We play the follow the leader, we get in behind the boat, can't be the lead boat but it would be beneficial for several boats and you may be going different angles," said Ken Cowart of the Tallapoosa County-Alex City Rescue Squad.

Seeing below the water, above the water, and now through dense fog, the 40,000 acre lake just became a bit easier to maneuver for Buchanan.

"This will make it safer for the officers," he said.

Marine police say the new patrol boats will eventually phase out their smaller boats which had no radar system.

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