Meet the 'gator'

ALLISON CORNEAU Staff/photoMoney to purchase this ATV for the Police Department was raised through the AmVets First Responder banquet.

It's called a "gator.''

The Haverhill Police Department is beefing up its fleet of emergency vehicles with the addition of a custom-made, four-person, all-terrain vehicle.

The vehicle will allow multiple officers at the same time to access off-road areas of the city. Its arrival continues a trend of ATVs and other off-road or non-traditional vehicles that are now part of the Police Department.

Donated by veterans' groups including Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 29, the American Legion Post 4 and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 20, the Polaris ATV is outfitted with lights and sirens from the local Adamson Industries.

"In 34 square miles, there's a lot here other than pavement,” police Chief Alan DeNaro said, referencing the size of the city. “It will be used in some of our wooded areas or areas that can't be used with conventional vehicles like cars, trucks or SUVs."

DeNaro recalled a fire at Bradford's Forest Acres apartment complex several years ago in which police had to borrow vehicles after the fire spread across a field.

The gator, which comes equipped with a basket to transport patients, could serve first responders well, he said.

Other locations DeNaro expects the new vehicle to come in handy include places like Winnekenni Park, which has hundreds of wooded acres, and off rural Brandy Brow Road.

“It's something we've wanted for a number of years and the city just doesn't have the money to do it,” the chief said. “We were fortunate enough to work with our veterans groups to come up with the funding. The other police departments are jealous!”

DeNaro and some of his staff, including Officers Scott Ziminski and Katelyn Tully, Sgt. Jamie Landry and mechanic Kevin Aro, recently had their first look at the vehicle after a five-month building process.

DeNaro expects to have officers trained in the use and maintenance of the vehicle in the next month.

In addition to being used for emergencies, the ATV will also be included in parades, DeNaro said.

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