OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Sarpy County Sheriff's Office and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (NRD) unveiled a new airboat on Thursday.
The agencies jointly purchased the airboat to assist with searches, rescues and other operations more effectively 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.”
According to a spokesperson for Sarpy County, use of their recreational areas substantially increased last summer, along with calls for service and patrolling by the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue unit.
Approximately 37 miles of the Platte River and six miles of the Elkhorn River border Sarpy County.
An airboat is a primary way to travel on both waterways.
The Sheriff's Office will be the primary owner of the boat and will hold responsibility for its operation and maintenance. However, NRD may use the airboat to do compliance checks and perform surveys of invasive species and levees, along with other uses.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and the NRD Board signed off on the $76,500 purchase earlier this year, with both entities splitting the cost.