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Thurston County Sheriff seeks helicopter, GPS trackers, and more!

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders, second from the left, said Wednesday he’s close to obtaining a military surplus helicopter for search and rescue efforts. He made a presentation to the Board of County Commissioners. Courtesy of Thurston County via The Olympian.

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders wants a helicopter, GPS trackers, cameras and nets

Excerpt from The Olympian via The Chronicle:

Thurston County’s Sheriff says he wants a new helicopter, tracking devices, grapple nets and license plate cameras to improve public safety. 

Sheriff Derek Sanders briefed the Board of Commissioners about the requests last week, but it’s still uncertain if the board will approve them soon. 

Contracts for the technology have not been finalized and commissioners are still evaluating their merits. Additionally, Sanders said his office is on a federal waitlist to get the helicopter. The briefings came as the Sheriff’s Office is contending with low staffing and is anticipating changes in state pursuit laws approved earlier this year by the state legislature.

On Wednesday, Sanders gave the board a rundown on the helicopter he wants, specifically a four-seater TH67 helicopter. County documents describe it as a military training helicopter that the county can obtain through a federal program that transfers surplus military property to law enforcement agencies. 

Sanders also updated the board about his requests for GPS tracking devices, grapple nets for vehicles and license plate cameras on Tuesday. He said the first two technologies would be used to de-escalate vehicle pursuits while the cameras would be used to keep track of vehicles of interest on county roadways.

Last month, the state legislature passed an initiative to rollback limits on police pursuits that Democrats passed in recent years. Those changes go into effect in June. 

“I advocated for this law change, but I also don’t want to say, ‘We’re pursuing cars now, so be it,’” Sanders said on Tuesday. “Anything that we can do to mitigate the risk of high-speed chases I want to at least try. That’s been my big thing.”

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The JOLT News: Thurston County Sheriff working to procuring helicopter exclusive to search, rescue, and pursuit missions

Posted by Steve on April 16, 2024 at 12:31 am | Permalink

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