The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office reports they have been awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of 331,959 dollars for search and rescue equipment.

The Sheriff's Office grant was applied for after Hurricane Gustav hit the state.  The sheriff says they bought a landing craft vessel along with a 5 3/4 ton heavy-duty 4 wheel drive trucks that have emergency lights along with other safety equipment.  The department was also able to buy a twenty-five foot fiberglass hull rapid water boat equipped with twin 115-horse power Mercury Outboard engines.  They plan to use these as part of rapid searches and rescues.

They were also able to purchase one remote operated sonar boat which is capable of doing shallow water SONAR scans.  This boat can be operated in very shallow water, remotely from another vessel, or from the banks of ponds and other smaller water areas.  This boat is capable of reaching speeds up to 50 miles an hour, and it can carry up to (2) 4-wheelers and/ or a team of 6 - 10 deputies.

Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz said, “The vessel is designed to drop the bow allowing for the rapid deployment of the ATV's and deputies.  The lowered bow can also be used to deploy and extract members of our dive team, which allows for easier retrieval of the divers and their equipment.  The cab of the vessel is large enough for up to 6 deputies for travel and will also be used to house and operate our SONAR equipment when doing bottom searches of selected waterways.  It will be equipped with sufficient lighting powered by on board generators to operate in total darkness allowing for night time searches.”

Guidroz added, “With the Atchafalaya River and numerous other water ways running through the parish, our rescue team is kept active either in the water or in the woods conducting rescue missions. This equipment will allow us to be of better assistance to the residents of St. Landry Parish.”