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New rescue ATV will help people in hard-to-reach places, N.J. sheriff says

Tidal wetlands are no match for SHERP’s five-foot-tall tires and water-rescue capabilities, police say


Ocean County Sheriff

By Suzie Ziegler

OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. — Challenging terrain presents unique dangers which require innovative solutions.

That’s why the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office bought “SHERP,” an ATV with five-foot-tall tires that can tackle a varied seaside landscape – from marshes and mud to beaches and lakes.

Sheriff Mike Mastronardy first proposed the idea after he was caught in a hurricane in North Carolina, reported Jersey Shore Online.

“Based on Ocean County’s topography, having this vehicle will allow us to perform rescues that in the past have been difficult to access,” Mastronardy said. “This vehicle is rugged and can withstand just about anything allowing us to perform lifesaving rescues while eliminating the concern of how to navigate reaching a victim.”

The versatile ATV will be used to reach someone who might be injured or having a medical emergency, police said. SHERP can reach speeds of 25 mph on land and 3.7 mph in the water. It can travel over sand, clear obstacles like down trees and plow through deep snow.

“There’s really no other vehicle in Ocean County that would be able to navigate the tidal wetlands that we have,” said Captain Joseph Greene. “This is the solution to those issues.”

Gary Quinn, county commissioner and liaison to the sheriff’s office, is thrilled with the new addition.

“Having gone through so many different tragedies in Ocean County, with hurricanes and Superstorm Sandy, we live in an area with a lot of issues. We have to have to proper equipment to be able to handle it,” Quinn said. “If it can save one life, it’s worth the investment.”

The sheriff’s office plans to equip SHERP with life-rings, rope, an AED and first-aid kits.