MEDFORD, Ore. – The search for missing Phoenix resident James Lutter is now over after rescuers found his body in an embankment Southeast of Cottage Grove.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, which coordinated the search, is calling it a sad ending to an unprecedented, multi-agency effort. The search was conducted with new technology that rescuers say, in this case, helped bring closure to Lutter’s family, and in the future could save lives.
The technology, a new “war room” called the Tactical Operations Center, is meant to improve monitoring and coordination in emergencies, investigations, or any time lives are at stake.
“It just saves time, and it is going to save lives in the future,” said Jackson County Search and Rescue Supervisor Sgt. Shawn Richards.
Jackson County is the first and only county in the state to use the system.
It allows agencies to view leads and clues in real-time, see all information being released to the public, monitor phones, and even track agents in the field.
“In any incident with real time information, literally minutes can save lives,” said sheriff’s office spokesperson Jenny Hall. “So this system is vital regardless of the incident we’re working.”
In the case of Lutter’s search, it was used between sheriff’s departments from three different counties as well as state police.
Sheriff’s deputies say the technology helped them avoid searching the same areas twice. They say a faster search can’t always bring someone home, but it can bring faster closure, and they’re hopeful this new tool can help.
“It’s very telling and it’s going to be successful,” said Richards. “It was a great help.”