KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Wyandotte County Sheriff's Department has a new patrol boat that has a storied history.
The federally decommissioned boat was used after the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy. Lt. Kelli Bailiff with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department said the addition of the boat doubles its fleet.
"In 2004 of course there was the shuttle disaster unfortunately and pieces tended to spread throughout Louisiana and Texas,” she said. “This boat actually was part of the program that went out and recovered pieces of the shuttle and all the debris.”
Lt. Bailiff said the boat will help it cover more ground and respond faster in case of emergency.
"The amount of water tragedies that we're seeing recently has really, really brought to attention our need in order to step up the level of protecting this lake,” she said.
The boat comes as the Sheriff’s Department launches a new safety sticker program. Boaters who get checked and meet safety requirements will get a sticker for their boat. Lt. Bailiff says after the boat is checked it is possible that it will still be re-inspected at a later time if the Boat Patrol thinks a re-inspection is necessary.
“We've always done the inspections but we've never had a visible way of identifying when a boat has been checked and this is a quick way to identify them,” said Captain Daniel Soptic with the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office.