The Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) is adding to its fleet of boats to assist in keeping the county safe. 

PCSO applied for a State of Minnesota Federal Boating Safety Supplemental Equipment Grant and they were awarded an 18’x8’ Alumitech Airboat with a 450-hp motor and aluminum trailer.

“What a great asset for the PCSO.  This boat will be utilized for search and rescue on the rivers and flooded areas and will be able to go where normal boats are not able to travel,” said Polk County Sheriff Jim Tadman.  We have been wanting a boat like this for many years but did not have a budget for it.  This goes to show you what perseverance will do, and it has paid off.”

The PCSO Boat and Water program is currently supervised by Sgt. Scott Bixby.  Sgt. Bixby began supervising the program in 2015 and has been very active with the program maintaining the boats, program equipment, lake coverage schedules, and proper training for the deputies.  In Sgt. Bixby’s first year of supervising the boat and water program, they doubled the contacts on the water and aggressively stepped up the boat and water safety education.

The duties for the officers include patrolling the lakes and rivers, search and rescue, boat inspections, raft permits, educational talks, and handing out hundreds of Boat and Safety coloring books to children.   

The PCSO works in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR).  A Benefit of working together with the MN DNR has allowed the PCSO to apply each year for Federal Equipment Grants.  County agencies throughout the State of Minnesota submit applications that are reviewed by a panel for consideration.  Each county boat and water safety program application are reviewed and the Federal Equipment Grant itself is decided based on the request in the application and the program activity.  Past grants include:

2016 – PCSO was awarded a $12,558.00 Yamaha Personal Watercraft

2018 – PCSO was awarded $15,595.00 for a replacement outboard motor for one of the patrol boats

2020 – PCSO was awarded a $ 52,535.00 Alumitech Airboat, for use in Search and Rescue operations in low water areas.

PCSO is very fortunate to have been awarded the grant through the State of Minnesota Federal Equipment Grants, which is a very competitive process for the agencies throughout the state.

PCSO was recognized by the MN DNR for having 0 accidents on All waters in Polk County during 2015 -2018

Since 2018 PCSO had two, minor, non-injury, property damage crashes reported.  Any damage over $2000.00 is required to be reported to the state. 

“The infrequency of accidents can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the deputies patrolling the lakes and rivers educating the enthusiasts they encounter.  Education plays a big part in keeping everyone safe while enjoying our great outdoors.  Keeping everyone safe is our main priority. Boating activity in Polk County has doubled in the last three to four years on all our Polk County waters,” said Sheriff Tadman. “We are not trying to wreck your day while we patrol on the lakes and rivers.  We just want to make sure everyone stays safe, drivers are sober, every boat has the proper equipment and required number of life jackets to keep everyone afloat in case something unfortunate occurs.”