Sheriffs’ friendship yields generous donation of underwater robot.

August 10, 2022

Left to right: Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, MCSO Det. Mike Kenney, MCSO Sgt. Adam Lamb and Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker.

Sheriffs’ friendship yields generous donation of underwater robot.

LUDINGTON — Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker recently stopped by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office to deliver crucial underwater recovery equipment as a gift to the Mason County department.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office received a Blue View Technologies video ray underwater remote vehicle. Also called remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), underwater robots or underwater drones, ROVs are a critical tool for conducting underwater investigations.

For the past several years, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole applied for grants through the Federal Port Security Program to purchase the equipment. Unfortunately, the MCSO never received funding to assist with the purchase.

“Lucky for us, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office did, and this year Ottawa County was able to purchase an updated underwater recovery vehicle. Ottawa County was able to gift their grant-purchased video ray underwater remote vehicle to another agency. This very piece of underwater equipment has been used numerous times here in Mason County over the past several years during water emergencies,” said Sheriff Cole.

“This video ray underwater remote vehicle is equipped with high intensity lighting, sonar, live feed video, and a remote extendable arm, which is capable of grabbing ahold of objects under water. This equipment will be deployed during water emergencies and used when conditions are too dangerous for divers to enter the water.“

“Sheriff Kempker and I have been friends for the past two decades, and I am grateful he thought of us as a recipient to receive such a great piece of equipment.

“In the spirit of ‘paying it forward,’ I have emailed the sheriffs of Lake, Manistee and Oceana counties and offered this up as a regional asset,” said Sheriff Cole.

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