Long Beach Cops Unveil Rescue Weapon
Long Beachת N.y. - Guns are better known for ending lives, but police on Long Island are crediting a special type of gun with saving a life.
In a summer already marked by the tragic drowning of a 12-year-old girl, police in Long Beach are hoping a unique tool can save the lives of others.
Officer Dave Walpole showed CBS 2 HD the Res-Q-Max -- a special type of rescue gun with a flotation device attached to a long rope.
"There's something inside here that dissolves, triggers it when it hits the water, pops it right open," Walpole said.
He fired it for the first time this weekend -- when he heard someone in the water screaming for help but couldn't see them.
"People don't usually last too long when they're out there," Walpole said.
The lightning-quick flotation bullet reached the swimmer before rescuers could get to him.
And Walpole hauled him to safety.
The rescue gun costs about $7,000, but it isn't widely used on Long Island.
"To the best of my knowledge we are the only department on Long Island that has one," Deputy Inspector Bruce Meyer said.
Meyer, who commands the Long Beach Marine Unit, lobbied to get the guns for his squad a year ago.
"The other night it paid for itself," Meyer said.
Already this year Long Beach police have had to rescue more than two dozen people from the fierce rip tides off the coastline, often at great risk to their own safety.
As the summer ramps up -- they said they'll expect even more.
They said having this gun in their arsenal of rescue tools already saved one life -- and will likely prevent other tragedies from happening.
The flotation device also has a strobe light attached to it, so swimmers can find it -- even in the dark.