Search for inmate comes up empty, but how much did it cost? - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Search for inmate comes up empty, but how much did it cost?

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Several agencies spent hours on both Wednesday and Thursday searching cornfields near Dolton for escaped inmate Oscar Herrera-Menjivar, but the search has been called off.

Many of our viewers raised concerns to how much the, so far, unsuccessful search is costing. The answer might surprise you.

In the United States all law enforcement agencies are ultimately funded by tax payer dollars. Meaning every minute a fugitive eludes capture, the meter is ticking.

In the search for Herrera-Menjivar, there were nearly 60 officers on the ground. Their salary varies based on department but they aren't cheap.

Agents with the Division of Criminal Investigation incurred a cost of roughly $5,000 for their efforts. The same amount can be said for the Turner County Sheriff, his deputies, and other county workers. the South Dakota Highway Patrol had the most troops on the ground raking up $8500 in expenses.

"It's a lot of man hours but how do you put a price on public safety?" Said Turner County Sheriff Byron Nogelmeier.

In the search, there were two single engine planes looking from above. The two of them alone cost $3,000.

The South Dakota National Guard also sent a helicopter with thermal imaging capabilities, something that normally would cost almost $1600 per hour.

"In this incident, the helicopter and the flier system that is a part of that is provided at no cost to local law enforcement due to the law enforcement nature of our counter drug program and the agreements we have with those agencies." Said National Guard spokesman Major Anthony Deiss.

Every year, the National Guard Bureau gives each state's guard units operational hours set aside for missions and other support efforts so local law enforcement isn't left footing the bill.

But even with a free chopper, for this search you get an estimated total of around $22,000.

These numbers are a rough estimate but give you a closer look at how expensive searches can be. While Herrera-Menjivar hasn't turned up yet , the Turner County Sheriff is still hoping all these efforts aren't completely wasted.

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