Late last year the King County Sheriff’s Office received a light tracked snow vehicle, also known as a “snowcat,” from the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which provides surplus equipment to law enforcement and fire departments throughout the country.
The Sheriff’s Office invited Fall City Elementary students to name the new snow vehicle and the winning name came from 5-year old Elena Traverso.
Out of 250 entries, Elena’s name, “Scotty,” was selected by King County Search and Rescue deputies.
Friday morning, April 22, 2016, King County Sheriff John Urquhart and King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert were at Fall City Elementary to present Elena with a certificate and some “swag” for herself and classmates. And of course “Scotty” also made an appearance for the kids.
In January, the snow vehicle had its first mission and successfully rescued two hikers who were stranded in deep snow near Rattlesnake Ridge. In snowy terrain the snowcat allows rescuers access lost or injured hikers – AND bring them down in a warm vehicle versus using up to 30 or more search and rescue volunteers to carry them out.
“There is a misconception that the Department of Defense program only supplies military weapons and vehicles to law enforcement,” said Sheriff John Urquhart. “The majority of items we have received are non-military items such as cold weather gear, gloves, flashlights and radio equipment.”
In addition to the Snowcat, the Sheriff’s Office has also received a surplus helicopter and related parts from the program. Guardian 2 is an old military Huey helicopter the Sheriff’s Office uses for search and rescue missions. The Huey has the ability to carry equipment and personnel for a mission and is equipped with a hoist to lower personnel into a situation or lift lost or injured hikers out.