Meet the Sherp, Coconino County’s new all-terrain search and rescue beast

Jun 28, 2024, 3:00 PM

PHOENIX — A northern Arizona public safety agency has added an imposing new tool to its search and rescue arsenal, an amphibious all-terrain utility vehicle known as a Sherp.

The Sherp will help the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) save lives in the nation’s second-largest county by area, the agency said in a press release Thursday.

With a squarish profile and giant tires, the Sherp can boldly go where other rescue vehicles can’t.

Rocky or sandy terrain? No problem.

Icy ground? Move over snowcat, the Sherp rescue vehicle is faster and can reach more areas.

The new vehicle also can navigate rural roads that are otherwise impassable after heavy rain or snow.

How did Coconino County pay for Sherp rescue vehicle?

CCSO said its Search and Rescue Unit handles 140-150 missions annually, about 90% on remote federally managed public lands.

Coconino County, which includes Flagstaff, paid for the Sherp using some of the $525,000 it was awarded by the state Legislature in 2023 to bolster search and rescue efforts.

The funding also went toward a replacement mobile incident command trailer, new satellite communications equipment, new small unmanned aerial systems and technical rescue equipment, CCSO said.

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Meet the Sherp, Coconino County’s new all-terrain search and rescue beast