Sherriffs Department Air Units

RIALTO – With 22,000 square miles to patrol, it isn’t surprising that the San Bernardino County Sheriff’sDepartment has a
large aviation division.”There are times when we need to get to Needles, Barstow, Chino Hills or Morongo very quickly,” Capt. Jeff Rose, who heads the sheriff’s Emergency Operations Division, said here Thursday.

“At a moment’s notice, we can utilize our helicopters to get emergency personnel, SWAT team members, VIPs or dignitaries to any location in a timely manner,” Rose said at a media briefing in the aviation unit’s main operations hangar at the Rialto Municipal Airport.

The sheriff’s aviation unit has seven patrol helicopters and three, more powerful, medium-range helicopters for search-and-rescue and fire operations.

The patrol helicopters are equipped with the latest in aviation technology, including FLIR (Foward Looking Infrared) systems, in-flight GPS mapping programs, a powerful spotlight, external hoist systems and high-definition video downlink capability.

The department also has four-fixed wing aircraft for narcotic surveillance and personnel transport.

The Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit and the Sheriff’s Department have been partners in cooperative firefighting efforts since 1990.

The department also showed its aerial hoist capabilities by lowering a paramedic from a hovering helicopter to a simulated “injured person” on the ground.

The “injured person,” a dummy for this demonstration, was then lifted into the still-hovering helicopter.

The exercise simulates many real-life situations where the department has evacuated injured hikers from some of the county’s mountainous areas, Rose said.

Another hat Rose wears as chief of the department’s Emergency Operations Division is to direct the department’s 1,970 volunteers.

Their hard work in a variety of positions saved the county nearly $13 million in personnel savings last year, he said.

Because the Rialto airport will eventually become a mixed-use real estate development, the Sheriff’s Department is planning to move its main hangar to San Bernardino International Airport.

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