On September 23th, 2012 at 6 p.m. the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office responded to the “Sycamore Canyon Academy Boys Ranch” in Oracle regarding three juveniles who had just runaway. Staff reported two of the boys were 17 years of age and one of the boys was 16. An area check for the juveniles was negative.
On September 24th an off road motorcycle rider was in the area of “Charleau Gap” near Saddlebrook. The motorcycle rider observed three juveniles and advised they were acting suspiciously, they also didn’t have any food or water and they asked him not to call 9-1-1.
At 1:15 p.m. Search and Rescue Deputies and the PCSO Air Unit responded. The description of the three juveniles matched that of the runaway runaways. The reporting party met deputies at the trailhead and told them the juveniles were last seen about 9 miles down the trail.
The juveniles were located by the PCSO Air Unit and Deputies on the ground. All three juveniles admitted they were the runaways we were looking for. They were provided with water as they were suffering from dehydration. The juveniles were transported off the mountain by a vehicle driven by Search and Rescue members and turned back over to “Sycamore Canyon Academy Boys Ranch” staff.
PCSO obtained our first helicopter in January of 2012 and we later added another helicopter which we obtained through the DRMO/1033 program in June of 2012. On average our Air Unit spends approximately 10 hours per week flying. Below are the statistics related to our Air Unit during just the past seven months.
|Patrol Assists – 44
||West Desert Task Force Assists – 31|
|Task Force Assists –4
||SWAT Assists – 4|
|Other Agency Assists – 23
||Stolen Vehicles Recovered – 11 ($151,000 value)|
|CIB Assists – 10
||Apprehensions of suspects - 15|
|Anti Smuggling Assists – 2
||Seizures of quads - 3|
|Traffic Unit Assists - 3
||Marijuana Interdiction – 10,299 pounds|
|Search and Rescue Assists – 17
||Scout Sites Located - 5|
|Pursuit Assists – 15
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “The Air Unit is force multiplier which makes Pinal County a safer place for our families. From the air, the crew has approximately 15 times the surveillance capability of a ground unit therefore making it invaluable in our efforts to reduce crimes