Box Elder County tests their SHERP on tough terrain to keep their skills up

Mark Millet, the Box Elder County emergency manger, operates the SHERP through a swampy area in Box Elder County.

BRIGHAM CITY – The Box Elder County sheriff’s department has the ultimate all-terrain vehicle, a SHERP. The SHERP vehicle can go where few, if any, other vehicles can go.

Mark Millet, Box Elder County emergency service manger, operates the SHERP though cattails, swamps and water without missing a beat Wednesday.

Mark Millet, the county emergency manger, said there is not a lot of terrain this thing can’t go on as he drove from water to mud to a bunch of thickly-grown cattails without missing a beat.

Since the county received the ultimate ATV, they have used it for rescues of people in difficult places. It has different modes for ice, mud, and water.

“We have several boxes we can put in the cargo area depending on what we want to use it for,” Millet said. “If we are using it for rescue, we put in a box with supplies needed for that. If it’s used for a fire, there is a box for that and so on.”

Millet said the vehicle was made simple so if something goes wrong with it, it can be easily fixed.

“It’s kind of an international machine. The motor is a Kubota diesel made by the Japanese; the skid plate on the bottom is a special alloy made in Sweden.”

The SHERP are built in Ukraine, but originally built by a Russian do-it-yourself engineer who won an off-road competition. A Russian oligarch and Ukrainian billionaire bought it, formed a manufacturing company, and started to build them. The vehicle parts are shipped to Canada where they assembled and sold to a dealer in Minnesota.

Mark Millet, Box Elder County emergency manger, gets ready to unload the SHERP from the trailer Wednesday.

“I came across it on the internet. I was looking for something we could use if there was an emergency, like an earthquake or something,” he said. “I was able to get a tour of the plant and the sheriff and I went back to Minnesota and looked them over.”

The county has two SHERP’s, one has a pickup bed and the other can carry up to 10 people.

I try and take it out once a week and train on it,” he said. “We have a lease with the Division of Wildlife Resources to use the marsh at the north end of Willard Bay to practice using SHERP.”

The day they got it the vehicle was used to rescue a couple of kids on Willard Peak.

Mark Millett, the Box Elder County emergency manger, moves through different terrains Wednesday to work on his skills operating the SHERP.

“It was about this time of year the snow was melting, some of it was soft and there were parts of the road that had snow and some that was nothing but mud,” Millett said. “We couldn’t use a regular ATV or a snow machine but the SHERP had no problem getting up there and bringing them home.

“It has an 18-gallon fuel tank and the wheel covers also hold fuel giving the vehicle an 18-hour range before needing to refuel,” he said. “The tires are five foot three inches tall and the tires are bullet proof.

No ramp is needed to load or unload the vehicle it climbed up the two feet needed to get on the trailer without a strain.

Mark Millet, Box Elder County emergency manger, loads the SHERP on a trailer without a ramp.

“The best part of getting these is they didn’t cost the taxpayers a dime,” Millett said. “The county gets money from the Federal Government from mineral leases out in the west part of the county.”

Box Elder County has over 6,700 square miles of some of the most diverse land in the state, with 5,746 square miles of land (including mountains and desolate desserts). The county also has 984 square miles of water, including the Great Salt Lake and hundreds of miles of marshes and sloughs. With such a diverse landscape, the SHERP has already helped countless people and will continue to be an asset to the Box Elder County’s emergency tool box.

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