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Runnin' the waves: Missoula Co. Sheriff’s Office using jet skis for lake patrol

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Posted at 10:20 AM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 12:35:36-04

In Seeley Lake, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office is using jet skis to maintain and patrol the many lakes in this zone of the county.

“They are very handy because they're easier to run than a boat. It’s one person operation pretty nice, and he can go out and do two to three lakes in a day,” said Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Parcell.

Parcell says that having these jet skis allows the three officers in the county zone to patrol on the lake and on the shore.

Those deputies on the water are looking for reckless driving, and ensuring safety of all water recreators.

“The biggest thing is we get such a crowd on the water and they get kind of reckless,” said Parcell.

Parcell says these jet skis are not for fun but for deputies to have their presence known on the water on all seven of the lakes in the county.

"It's very exciting. It's fun, but the idea is not that these (are) so much fun, and to enjoy yourself while you're doing it, but perform the task we were supposed to. These are a piece of equipment that we're going to use to get the job done,” said Parcell.

Before the jet skis, the sheriff’s office had a boat, which required more people to be involved in the loading and unloading of the craft.

But with the support of Fish and Game, and the sheriff’s office in Missoula, the "WaveRunners” change the hassle to ease.

“This capability it gives us to perform... our job on the water, and I think we really assist Fish and Game and so on, even the Forest Service, because we can do things with this you couldn't do it a boat so easy,” said Parcell.

Parcell says these WaveRunners would not be possible without the support of Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott and county administration.

The sheriff’s office also assists Seeley Lake Search and Rescue with the jet skis during searches.