Sheriff’s Office unveils new rescue snowmobile

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has added to its line-up of off-road vehicles.

“The purchase of the second snowmobile will complete the Sheriff’s Office complement of off-road emergency vehicles which include two ATVs, two snowmobiles, and a multi-use rescue boggan, all of which have been purchased through past grants and donations,” Deputy William Gardner said. “The equipment supplements other county agencies when in need, whether it is law enforcement or fire departments.”

The second snowmobile provides flexibility and an added level of safety and reliability in cases in which it is needed.

“Any type of an emergency operation, whether in the summer or winter that requires off-road vehicles should never be done alone,” Gardner said. “One may end up miles within remote areas and having the second vehicle could be the difference between success and failure.”

Fund-raising efforts for the snowmobile took two years.

“The purchase of the Arctic Cat Bear Cat Z1 XT was made possible with the support from the following contributing businesses and foundations of the community: PGE Corporation, LLC, First Energy, The Betts Foundation, Community Foundation of Warren County, The DeFrees Family Memorial Fund, United Refinery, Ed Shults of Warren, Johnson’s Tire, Petrex Inc., Interlectric Corporation, Fox and Sons, Whirley Drinkworks, and Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association,” Gardner said.

A senior in the Warren County Career Center’s welding department also made a contribution.

Jonah Berlin of Sheffield Area High School “fabricated a custom fit utility box that can be easily attached and removed from the snowmobile,” Gardner said.

The vehicles have been used in several ways in the past – providing security at events, searching for lost people, and rescuing people who have been injured in remote locations.

In the case of weather emergencies, the Sheriff’s Office now has options beyond four-wheel-drive vehicles in providing assistance to medical responders.

“The equipment is more of a specialty item that is there when officers need it and is centrally located, readily available,” Gardner said. “The new snowmobiles are designed more for utility work rather than just riding. They are geared lower making them ideal for hauling a tow sled and heavy loads. They have a wider adjustable tracks and skis for better stability along with a front-mounted winch. The multi-use rescue boggan is an item for use in both winter and summer conditions.”

The equipment is not limited strictly to use by Sheriff’s Officer personnel.

“The Sheriff’s Office currently has an ATV/Snowmobile Training Program developed to bring other law enforcement and volunteer fire departments on board when using the equipment,” Gardner said. “Like any other agency, the Sheriff’s Office is lean on manpower and at times relies on others, whether they are local fire departments or law enforcement agencies for conducting certain operations.”

The Sheriff’s Office also recognized Deputy Timothy Hepinger for his “continuous effort and success in raising the funds needed to acquire the snowmobiles and rescue-boggan.”