ST. LANDRY PARISH, LA — The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Emergency Search and Rescue Dive Team responders were on the water recently to train with their newly acquired underwater sonar camera equipment.
The equipment being utilized represents the latest in underwater search, rescue and recovery technology and was acquired through a grant from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. It is highly portable and has side-scan as well as vertical scan capabilities.
The concept is similar to that used for tracking submarines by the military. Acoustic waves produced by the sonar devices are propagated through the water until they encounter a submerged object. The sound waves are then reflected back to the device which converts the returned signal into a black and white image which is displayed in real time on a computer screen. The image resolution is quite high, enabling searchers to locate not only vehicles but weapons or submerged bodies. Images can be obtained in absolute darkness and murky water.
Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz indicated that the use of this advanced technology is another example of his quest to advance the capabilities of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’ Office , and he stressed that this technology and the personnel trained in its use are available to all emergency first responders in the parish upon request.