Combination of low and high-tech equipment in Search and Rescues

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Pennington County recently announced the purchase of a $121,000 all-terrain vehicle to be used in Search and Rescues, called the SHERP Pro.

An all-terrain vehicle, called a SHERP Pro, will be coming to Pennington County soon.

In recent months, there have been some high-profile search and rescue operations in the area and searchers and officials have shared some of the methods that they use. They range from the simple, to the technologically advanced. The marriage of low tech and high tech is important.

"We've used a combination of helicopters, drones, horses, ATV's, UTV's, ground searchers and K9's, so it can be some of those or all of the above," said Kevin Thom, Sheriff of Pennington County.

The drones are equipped with thermal imaging capabilities and the use of GPS units on searchers helps monitor and organize the search. Often, they work in concert and directly impact the use of each other.

"I mean, if we get information from a drone or camera, we'll send ground searchers to that area, so it's a partnership among all of the people here," said Dustin Morrison, Lieutenant for the Pennington County Sheriff's Office.

Keeping searchers safe is one of the top priorities on a search and rescue operation.

"We want to make sure that we're putting them out there in the safest, most efficient vehicle we can, and we think that we found that in the SHERP Pro," said Brian Mueller, Chief Deputy for the Pennington County Sheriff's Office.

Currently, Pennington County Sheriff's Office is still searching for Larry Genzlinger, the elk hunter who went missing in the Deerfield Lake area and Serenity Dennard, who has been missing since February.

Mueller says that the SHERP Pro is set up like a UTV and the vehicle will be purchased sometime in November.