NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Will the remnants of Hurricane Irma dump their tropical force fury here in Middle Tennessee causing creeks to rise and rivers to flood?
If it happens in Williamson County, the sheriff’s office is prepared.
The agency has over $3 million in surplus equipment, and it didn’t cost tax payers a dime.
On Monday, Sheriff Jeff Long showed News 2 some of the equipment, such as a 1974 UH1 medivac helicopter.
Even though the helicopter runs great, the Army planned to scrap it.
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Sheriff Long told News 2 when he heard he could get the search and rescue machine for free, he sent deputies to New Mexico and had them fly it to Franklin.
“The taxpayers have not paid anything for it. It was free from the military and we use it for rescue and search maneuvers and things,” he explained.
Now painted with the Williamson County star, the helicopter is one of many impressive pieces of heavy equipment the sheriff’s department has ready in case of an emergency.
“It was all free,” Long said. “We paid the maintenance cost and the fuel cost, but no upfront costs at all other than going to get it and paying to transfer it back.”
During the historic 2010 flood, Sheriff Long said his department was not equipped to handle the emergency.
“We were not prepared,” Long recalled. “I’m not sure any agency was. We have not had that much flooding, it’s taught is that lesion since that time and we have actively started getting all this equipment from the federal site and it’s free of charge, not costing tax payers, but providing them the comfort and the service should we have another flood, we are prepared.”
Thanks to the military surplus program, Long said he has fortified his crime fighting abilities and maximized his search and rescue operations significantly.
Sheriff Long also showed News 2 an armored personnel carrier that can also double as a rescue vehicle in case of floods. The department also has a jet ranger that provides eyes in the sky, and a command center, Humvees, and five ton trucks.
The department also was also recently given a $35,000 tractor by a local trucking company, Specialty Transport out of Fairview and Grassland.
“For the last week, we have had people at the Ag Park collecting school supplies and we have a tractor-trailer load we are hauling to Texas in that vehicle in order to help the kids in Texas,” Long said.
Nissan has also donated two vehicles, a Pathfinder and van to the sheriff’s office. The vehicles are used by detectives at crime scenes.
Drug dealers also played a part in the stockpile of equipment, Long said. Before the military surplus, the sheriff said some of his machinery was purchased with drug forfeiture money.