On June 10, the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office and Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District unveiled a new airboat the agencies jointly purchased to better assist with searches, rescues and other operations on Sarpy County waterways.
“Having an airboat for our Patrol and Search & Rescue teams to use will be a huge benefit to Sarpy County and the people who visit our rivers,” Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis said. “Whether it was the historic flooding in 2019 or the increasing number of water rescues we’ve been called to in recent years, it’s clear there’s a need for a boat that can operate in a number of different water conditions.”
Use of Sarpy County’s recreational areas substantially increased last summer, as did calls for service and patrolling by the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit. Roughly 37 miles of the Platte River and six miles of the Elkhorn River border Sarpy County, and an airboat is the primary means of travel on both waterways.
The Sheriff’s Office will be the boat’s primary owner and responsible for its operation and maintenance. However, in addition to law enforcement use, the NRD may use the airboat to conduct compliance checks and perform surveys of invasive species and levees, among other uses. The airboat will display the logos of both the Sheriff’s Office and the Papio-Missouri NRD.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and NRD Board signed off on the purchase earlier this year. The two entities are splitting the $76,500 cost.
In the photo: Papio-Missouri NRD Director Ted Japp (from left), Director Jim Thompson, Sarpy County Commissioner Jim Warren, NRD General Manager John Winkler, Director Patrick Bonnett, Director Larry Bradley, Lt. Dennis Svoboda, Director Kevyn Sopinski, Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis and Director Tim McCormick.