Local police department training to use new sonar equipment for searches

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PLAINFIELD (Oct. 7, 2014) - It’s called Project Big Tuna, and officials with the Plainfield Police Department hope it will make a big difference next time they have to do a search on the water.

“This equipment is really needed based on the number of ponds we have in our town,” said Capt. Jill Lees.

Officers spent part of Tuesday morning training on the new equipment, which includes a kayak (named Big Tuna), sonar equipment, and a Kubota to carry it in.

“You never know what you’re going to find in some of these ponds,” said Lees. “You’re looking at stolen properties, vehicles, missing persons… in the past several years we’ve had a couple of missing persons cases this could have come in handy for.”

Like the case of Morgan Johnson, who was missing for more than two years before they finally found his body.

“With this, we’ll have the equipment (and) we can be on the water in probably an hour, so it will definitely speed things up,” said Det. Lt. Jeff Stephens.

So families don’t have to keep wondering what happened to their loved one in the future.

“(This will mean) closure for the family,” said Stephens. “Both the missing persons cases I’ve been involved in have been missing for 2 ½ years. This will help.”

The Guilford Township Trustee’s Office purchased the Kubota earlier this year. The Department also received a grant through the Hendricks County Community Foundation to purchase the kayak and sonar equipment.