Sheriff’s office purchases boat for patrol, rescues
Boaters on Grand County’s lakes and reservoirs will soon start seeing a new law enforcement presence on the water now that Grand County’s Sheriff’s Office has purchased a new patrol and rescue boat, expected to go into operation later this month.
The $21,000 payment for the new boat, a 22-foot long Dolphin Bull from the year 2000, was made Monday after officials from the department spent portions of Sunday checking the boat’s engine and functionality at Chatfield Lake. According to Lt. Dan Mayer with the sheriff’s office the Grand County Board of Commissioners initially approved the purchase mid-May with final approval coming Monday morning.
The new boat obtained by the sheriff’s office will replace the department’s previous boat, a 1991 Boston Whaler, which was donated to the agency in 2015. The department plans to sell that boat to help offset the cost of the new boat, Mayer said.
The push for a sheriff’s boat was sparked in 2015 after the drowning death of local resident Christopher Mullinex who died over the Fourth of July weekend in 2015.
At that time, the sheriff’s office did not have a dedicated patrol or rescue boat for the water bodies of Grand County. Instead, the department relied upon the assistance of other watercraft from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, other counties and, at times, from civilians. That changed with the donation of the Boston Whaler in 2015, but problems related to that boat’s engine as well as functionality for law enforcement duties prompted the department to seek other equipment.
Mayer said officials from the department plan to pick up the boat on Friday and then proceed with roughly two weeks of equipping work to be conducted before the boat is brought into service. Work on the boat will include the installation of lights, radios, law enforcement markings, sonar and standard first aid and rescue equipment.
The boat will be used for patrols of Grand County’s lakes and reservoirs with a specific eye towards special events when more boaters are likely to be out on the water. Additionally, the boat will be called upon for rescue operations and other emergencies. Mayer said the department is currently working with Grand County EMS to develop specific protocols to take paramedics out on the water as needed.
According to Mayer, several deputies from the sheriff’s office have already been through formal boat operation and response classes for law enforcement and the department plans to familiarize all with proper operation of the boat in the future.
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