The vehicles in the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office shed don't only serve Sebastian County.
These vehicles — a handful of ATVs, a rescue boat, a SWAT Humvee and a recreational vehicle converted into a mobile command post — comprise the Special Services division of the Sheriff's Office. While deputies have used them in Sebastian County, they have also taken them throughout Arkansas and even across state lines during large-scale operations, said Mike Conger, captain of the division.
"It’s a brotherhood, but it’s also a service we can give to these counties that may not have the facilities or the equipment we do," Conger said.
The special services vehicle that has traveled farthest from Sebastian County is the rescue boat. Deputies used the boat in late summer 2017 to help relieve southeast Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Capt. Philip Pevehouse with the Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies also used the boat in 2013 to respond to the rescue of a deputy in St. Francis County and in 2017 in response to the family whose boat capsized on the Arkansas River near Sallisaw. Conger said deputies used the Arkansas River to reach the family near Sallisaw.
"We can go just about anywhere when we’re asked to," Conger said.
While the boat has been used across state lines, the ATVs are largely used within Sebastian County. Conger said they have been used for rural rescues in the past.
The ATVs are also used for crowd control, Conger said.
"We use them for public events," he said. "We had them out for the big marathon."
Some of the last Special Services vehicles to be deployed were the command post and the Humvee, which were sent on May 7 to the Hackett area in response to a standoff between Peter Boden and officials from multiple law enforcement agencies. The Humvee was used to deploy county SWAT deputies to Boden's house while Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck and investigators operated from inside the command post, which has an interview room and computers, Conger said.
Sheriff's deputies have crossed county lines with the command post as well. Conger said in 2013 they drove it down to Scott County to aid in the floods in the Waldron area, Conger said.
"It's basically a mobile Sheriff's Office," Conger said of the command post.
Going forward, Conger said sheriff's officials plan to continue offering the Special Service vehicles to any community that needs it.
"It’s one of those things where, if we can help, we want to be there to help," he said.