The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department recently received a $5,000 grant from Alliance Pipeline. Alliance owns a 36 inch natural gas pipeline that runs through the northeastern corner of Chippewa County. The company offers grants to help the counties that their pipelines cross.

Deputy Tim Bergeland applied for a grant last year, which was used to upgrade the departments recently purchased Polaris Ranger all-terrain vehicle. The Ranger itself was purchased with an Emergency Management Grant from the state of Minnesota. It can be used in many types of search and rescue situations, as well as being used in disaster response situations.

The $5,000 grant from Alliance Pipeline was used to purchase tracks to replace the traditional tires on the Ranger. “Tracks on a response vehicle like this are really useful,” Bergeland said. Equipped with tracks, the Ranger can access terrain that other types of vehicles would not be able to traverse, such as hills and valleys, farm fields, and wetlands. The larger footprint of the tracks also allows it to operate in muddy or snowy conditions.

The Ranger is an ideal vehicle to operate in a disaster situation such as the aftermath of a tornado. Where debris could puncture a tire, tracks could handle the various types of debris encountered in such an event. Because Chippewa County’s Ranger is such a unique vehicle in the area, steps have been taken to allow neighboring counties to use the vehicle. “We are putting together response teams to coordinate among other counties to perform search and rescue and disaster operations,” said Bergeland. The Sheriff’s department is very grateful to Randy Phillips and Alliance Pipeline for their generous donation.