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July 17, 2019

7/10/2019 11:38:00 AM
County deputies get new tool to use for high water rescues
The sight of a large vehicle in the Crawford County Jailís backyard has caught the attention of several local residents in recent days. A few weeks ago Sheriff Bill Rutan told the Daily News that his office will be obtaining an AVGP Grizzly for use in the county. He said the vehicle will be used to rescue residents who have become stranded in flooded areas. (Blake Nash Photo)
The sight of a large vehicle in the Crawford County Jailís backyard has caught the attention of several local residents in recent days. A few weeks ago Sheriff Bill Rutan told the Daily News that his office will be obtaining an AVGP Grizzly for use in the county. He said the vehicle will be used to rescue residents who have become stranded in flooded areas. (Blake Nash Photo)
By TOM COMPTON
Daily News

With all the rain and storms we have had this spring and early summer imagine driving home after dark in the rain and suddenly hitting a section of road where water is rushing across from a flash flood. You can't stop in time and before you know it your car is washed off the road into a field or a bank bursting creek. You call 911 from you cell phone and within minutes help is at your car door.

The newest vehicle in the Crawford County Sheriff's Department is a police version of the AVGP Grizzly armored personnel carrier.

"My intent of the usage is for people who drive into flooded areas, so we can get to them without launching a boat or relying on personal vehicles to reach them," said Crawford County Sheriff William Rutan. "It is not for river patrol, it only moves in water by the rotation of the tires, which will only allow speeds up to 4 KPH."

This is the second exotic vehicle Rutan has been able to acquire for the county in the past few months. Earlier this summer he acquired an airboat that could be used for shallow water rescue, where regular boats and motors could not go.

The Grizzly came into service by the military around 1998 and was slowly phased out in 2005. It is 19.5 feet long and 8 feet 3 inches tall and wide, weighing 10.5 tons. It is designed to transport two vehicle operators and six passengers. It features a Detroit Diesel 6V53T Turbodiesel, 275 hp engine and a 6x6 independent coil spring suspension.

"This type of a vehicle is not accessible by our rescue department, because only Law Enforcement Agencies can get them," said Rutan.

The other purpose for this is for the rescue of downed people.

"This gives us a mobile barricade to get between victims and active shooters. The closest thing we have available to us is over 2 hours away, which time is a large concern if there are wounded people," said Rutan.

While no one wants to think about the horror of an active shooter in our small community it is more likely the vehicle could be used for rescue in an industrial accident at the refinery or during a incident at the prison.

With a Facebook photo prompting a wide range of discussion Rutan said he wanted to clear a few things up. "This vehicle did not cost the county anything but fuel and time from Peoria County, which I thank the Crawford County Highway Department for the transportation," he said. "I just have to keep it on the inventory of items that we have received from the military surplus. This vehicle is amphibious, which is the main reason I acquired it."

The county is responsible for the upkeep of the vehicle, but assistance from the military surplus program is available for the parts, and Rutan said he has a military mechanic on staff.

This particular vehicle has been modified for police/civilian use. There is a place for a ram on the front of the vehicle, but this would be used as a defensive piece of equipment, not offensive, said Rutan.

"My plan is to put a push bumper and a winch on the front, for rescue purposes," he said.

"The Crawford County Sheriff's Office is part of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, (ILEAS) which gives us assistance from other counties as well as us helping them. So this will also help any law enforcement agencies in the area," said Rutan.





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