Law enforcement officers train on new Sonar - - Jackson, MS

Law enforcement officers train on new Sonar

RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More than 40 central Mississippi law enforcement officers are training on a new type of Sonar used to find victims in drowning cases.

It's called "Side Imaging Sonar", made by Humminbird, a company that makes fish finders. The system was originally developed to find fish, but when they realized its capability of finding anything on the bottom, they built a version designed to find bodies in drowning cases.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has the units along with several emergency operations agencies. Even some individuals own the units which cost $3,000 each.

The man who teaches how to use the equipment is 46-year-old Mark Gipson of Eufala, Alabama. He is the director of marketing for Humminbird. 

"You actually see the bottom, you take a couple different angles, you could see the body crystal clear. When we started doing that, we knew search and rescue was going to be a big part of this," said Gipson.

The Reservoir Patrol Chief Perry Waggener set up the session to train law enforcement officers in this area.

Waggener said, "The total number of officers is 58. They are coming from as far away as Lincoln County, Warren County.

Waggener used the device to find a drowning victim at Ratliff Ferry in the dark. We even saw an alligator on the Sonar screen after it went down in shallow water.

The Reservoir Patrol has two of the units and has used them extensively. The units also have GPS capability to instantly give the coordinates of anything they find.

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