The Whitley County Fiscal Court took the first step in the process to acquire a remotely operated submersible vehicle to aid in search and recovery efforts.
At last Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting of the fiscal court, the magistrates unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the county to submit an application for a Kentucky Department of Homeland Security to fund the purchase of the ROV, along with the necessary equipment and training.
Whitley County Projects Manager Amber Owens said the grant is for $60,000 and requires no matching funds from the county.
Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses noted that in addition to drownings in the Cumberland River, Laurel Lake and the Clear Fork River, area emergency personnel have spent hours and sometimes days attempting to recover weapons and other items dumped into bodies of water across the county.
“We have recovered a shotgun and a rifle used in murders and a handgun used in a bank robbery. We were doing that blind,” Moses said of the search and recovery efforts.
Moses said in 2016, a team from Southeast Louisiana Underwater Search and Recovery used an ROV to aid in the effort to recover the body of 21-year-old Zachary Anderson from Laurel Lake.
The divers were at the lake in their on-going search to find the body of Clarence Homes, who went missing on July 5, 2012, volunteered to aid in the search.
“It probably saved us a lot of time,” Moses said using the ROV.
“This would be a fantastic thing if we could get it,” Moses said of obtaining the ROV.
Moses said the ROV would include 200 to 300 feet of cable, which would enable it to reach the bottom of almost any body of water in the area.
The only limit would be in areas of swift water such as portions of the Cumberland River.
“If we are lucky enough to get this, we don’t care to go into another county to assist,” Moses said.
Owens said the deadline for the applications is the first week of May.
“They will let us know, one way or the other, around July 1,” Owens said.
In other business the fiscal court:
- Approved the salaries of the magistrates, coroner and county attorney.
The magistrates will receive $800 per month. The coroner will receive $1,050 per month. The county attorney will receive $2,080 per month.
Owens said the salaries remain unchanged from 2014. The salaries are reconsidered prior to new elections for the respective offices.
- Approved a petition to adopt Jack Dempsey Road into the county road system.
- Approved a petition to adopt Rain Crow Road into the county road system.
- Approved a memorandum of agreement between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Whitley County Detention Center for the use of inmates to pick up litter along the state highways.