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Sheriff's Helicopter STAR

The Air Operations Bureau is responsible for providing aerial support to all officers and divisions of the Sheriff’s Department, as well as other law enforcement agencies, enhancing their ability to respond and react to the critical needs of the community.

The Air Operations Bureau was established in 1978 with two Hughes 300, 2 passenger helicopters. Today our crews (teams of (1) Deputy Sheriff Pilot and (1) Deputy Sheriff Observer) operate three Eurocopter-EC120, 5 passenger helicopters. These helicopters were purchased in 1999 and were chosen due to their quiet operation (30% quieter than previously operated helicopters). In addition to the (3) patrol helicopters, we maintain two Huey UH-1H helicopters which we acquired through the Army Surplus Program.

The helicopters are referred to as STAR units (Sheriff’s Tactical Air Resource). The EC-120 helicopters are used for routine Patrol Functions, Homeland Defense Patrol Missions, and Locating Missing Children etc. The Bell UH-1H (Huey) helicopters are used for emergency operations, flood rescue, personnel transport, marijuana eradication etc.

The Helicopters, primarily operated in the unincorporated area of the county, are invaluable in reducing man hours spent and reducing response times to critical as well as routine calls for service. In 2002 our crews flew approximately 1140 hours and handled approximately 5180 calls with an average response time of 2 minutes.

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