U.S. Marshals Provide Critical Response Platform to AST Bethel Post

Bethel Trooper Post now has a new airboat, a 24 foot Search and Rescue model, and can be used during all seasons.

An all-season Airboat will expedite trooper responses and assist in multi-agency operations

September 3, 2020 (Anchorage, AK) – Thanks to the U.S. Marshals Service, the Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS) has one more asset to respond to incidents in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: an all seasons Airboat. The Airboat was purchased by the U.S. Marshals for $290,000. While the U.S. Marshals Service retains ownership of the vessel, the DPS, as a close partner agency, will have full use of the vessel to further operational capacity. The DPS will assume the operating costs, storage and fuel. In anticipation of receiving the asset, three troopers based in Bethel were trained as operators. The U.S. Marshals trained three of its personnel to operate the Airboat, as well.

The Airboat is a 24 foot Search and Rescue model built by 1000 Island Airboats that comes with all the bells and whistles, to include a Forward-looking Infrared (FLIR) M625S Stabilized Thermal Camera with joy stick controller, Quantum 2 Q24D doppler 18″ Radar as well as a five-mile range Axiom 12 multifunction display with navionics.

“We are very excited to have this new asset to help us expedite our responses to communities surrounding Bethel,” said Lt. Lonnie Gonzales, Deputy Commander of C Detachment, who is based in Bethel and worked with the U.S. Marshals on identifying a useful platform for better response options. “When planes can’t fly, and we can’t use a snowmachine or regular boats due to weather or terrain, we can use this since it can go on water, ice and land. It really is all about getting to places safely so we can better help Alaskans in need.”

“This airboat will enhance the fundamental expectations of presence and responsiveness on the part of law enforcement in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta,” said United States Marshal Rob Heun. “The US Marshals Service will continue to partner with the Alaska State Troopers wherever possible and whenever possible.”

“We cannot express enough how grateful AST, and the Department of Public Safety as a whole, is to the US Marshals Service. We thank the Marshals and Marshal Heun for their continuously unwavering partnership,” said Col. Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers. “Alaska is really a tight community and it is impactful to see our federal counterparts come together with us to find creative solutions to best serve the people of Alaska.”

The Airboat first arrived in Bethel last week and is anticipated to become available for use within the coming days.