Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell announced Monday the expansion of the ICSO Lake Enforcement Unit.

Recently, the Sheriff’s Office took delivery of a new 27-foot SAFE Boats International Cabin Boat. This purchase was made possible by utilizing Federal Asset Forfeiture, and Federal Equitable Sharing funds, otherwise known as “Drug Dealers Money.” 

This SAFE 27 Walk Around Cabin was custom built to meet the growing needs of the ICSO Lake Enforcement Unit. The enclosed cabin provides deputies increased protection from year-round environmental conditions. The boat’s design and outboard motors will allow deputies to navigate rougher waters, provide increased maneuverability, and reduce response times.

Onboard technology includes FLIR thermal imaging and color video, which is compatible with the Raymarine Axiom Pro 12 multifunctional display. The Axiom Pro 12 is capable of displaying down scan sonar, side-scan sonar, thermal imaging, and low-light color video with 30X zoom, wide-spectrum CHIRP sonar, Real View 3-D Sonar, radar, and navigation. Each of these tools will help deputies in their law enforcement actions, as well as when they are working alongside fire departments and rescue squads on lifesaving missions or recoveries, along with ensuring safer navigation on the lake.

The FLIR cameras will provide the Lake Patrol deputies with situational information which cannot be captured with other low-light technologies. Additionally, this powerful tool can be used for search-and-rescue missions, which can occur anytime and in any weather conditions.

The ICSO intends to use the new vessel to identify issues and address them prior to accidents or loss. However, in the event of emergency response, deputies will have greater capabilities to assist in rescue or recovery.

Not only will this vessel impact enforcement on the lake immediately, but it also allows for growth and expanded operations with special units such as SERT, ACE, and Narcotics, Campbell said.

The ICSO Lake Enforcement Unit operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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