REALITY CHECK: Search missions costing local agencies thousands

    REALITY CHECK: Search Missions costing local agencies thousands (WICS )

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --- Search and recovery agencies and volunteers are paying a price for an uptick in missing people searches in our region.

    There have been three missing people cases near bodies of water in three months in the Central Illinois region.

    Shane Shomidie was found after an 11-day search in the Sangamon River.

    Wallace Darcow was found after a massive search in the Kaskaskia River in Shelby County.

    In addition, the search continues for missing arrowhead hunter Mike Schmidt, near Pawnee.

    "All of a sudden, time becomes enemy in trying to find the individual," said Limey Nargelenis, Police Chief of the Springfield Park Police District.

    Chief Nargelenis also oversaw the Shomidie investigation.

    "We had the Illinois State Police helping us," Nargelenis said. "We had the Sangamon County Rescue Squad and the Springfield Fire Department out there and all kinds of volunteers to help us."

    At times, Chief Nargelenis says there were nearly 20 paid and non-paid individuals helping out in a given day. Nargelenis says in a search that spans several days, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Expenses include police helicopters, overtime pay, and equipment.

    "Sonar technology was up to $30,000 for some of the best equipment," Nargelenis said. "The State Police had their airplane up there twice. We had drones out there."

    The Shelby County Volunteer Dive Team was one of the lead agencies in the Darcow case. Shelby County gives the unit about $20,000 per year.

    Just last week while searching for Darcow's body, there was a major equipment failure involving one of their tow vehicles. A brand new one comes with a $30,000 price tag.

    Nargelenis says its a problem that renews his concern about safety on the water.

    "Understanding that it may not be friendly as they think it is," Nargelenis said. "They need to know what their physical capabilities are and how far you can swim in case the boat capsizes."

    The Sangamon County Sheriff's Office continues the search for Mike Schmidt. He's been missing since June 10th.

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