NewsPasco County


Pasco deputies better prepared to get to you in an emergency

New Swift Water Team now FEMA certified
Posted at 5:55 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 17:55:03-05

Getting to you in an emergency— despite any obstacles. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has several new tools helping them get into the tightest spots in the worst water currents, all to save you.

They’re fast. They’re light. They can glide in the shallowest, choppiest water. Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has a handful of new inflatable, high powered boats to rescue you in flood water, retention ponds and even the Gulf Of Mexico.

Mitch Bollenbacher, a member of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s Swift Water Response Team says the new team and boats are much needed.

“We have lakes and canals everywhere in the county. It’s easy for someone to drive a car, throw a gun, throw a knife, throw a body in any sort of water from retention ponds, to lakes, to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s important we have the tools to search all of those.”

The new training and equipment will also help them get to you in the trickiest situations. The Swift Water Team may be new, but they’ve already been put to the test…helping recover crucial evidence after the Roy Halladay plane crash and checking on people in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

The new rescue boats were purchased because of a group of business owners, who saw a need and pitched in $18,000 to help, including Rich Solkin of Kickin’ Wings.

“There was a lot of flooding in Elfers and other areas and we saw a need in the community,” he explained. “Minutes count and now they have the tools they need to get the people.”

The new Swift Water Rescue Team is also FEMA certified, meaning they can travel across the country to swim, dive and boat to people’s rescue.