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Sheriff's Office

Air Support Unit

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office Air Support Unit received its first aircraft, a 1976 Piper Super Cub which was obtained from Customs and Border Protection in March 2011. The Unit's second aircraft, a 1990 MD Helicopter 500E, was obtained in December 2011 after a lengthy procurement process. The funding was obtained from the Arizona State Legislature and signed by Governor Jan Brewer, because available air support was lacking in the county. Our third aircraft, a 1969 Hughes/MD Helicopters MH-6C was obtained in March 2012 using the LESO 1033 program and came from the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. Prior to this, the Sheriff's Office had to ask other agencies to assist.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office Air Support Unit

The Air Support Unit consists of 1 full-time helicopter pilot, 1 full-time mechanic/fixed-wing pilot, a full-time Tactical Flight Officer and 2 part-time pilots. Funding for the unit is provided by the State of Arizona and RICO (anti racketeering) seizure funds. Currently funds from the County General Fund are not utilized. We have acquired parts, equipment, tools and even a helicopter from the LESO 1033 Program Office. Use of the surplus program has allowed us to procure everything from flight helmets to a fuel truck with only 5,000 miles on it for basically the cost of shipping items.

Training is a key factor to our success, so we will expand on our basic knowledge this year. For 2013, we will continue building relationships with other Law Enforcement agencies and work on expanding our capabilities.