The Butte County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit consists of three turbine-powered helicopters, one fixed wing aircraft, and five unmanned aerial systems. The Aviation Unit assists and supports every public safety division and all local law enforcement agencies in the county.
The helicopters are utilized as an aerial law enforcement platform “force multiplier.” The helicopters often support ground patrol units with on-view or in-progress crimes including searching for suspects wanted for crimes such as rape, robbery, and other felony and misdemeanor crimes, pursuits, and surveillance.
In addition, the helicopters assist the Special Enforcement Unit with marijuana suppression, land reclamation and combating human trafficking as well as assisting the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team with tactical operations.
The helicopter is a useful tool for rapidly searching large areas for lost individuals or fleeing suspects. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office aircraft regularly rescues people from remote locations, steep canyons, cliff faces, and static and dynamic water environments using a long-line method. The helicopter can be used to transport deputies to remote or inaccessible locations that are not easily accessed by ground patrol vehicles to assist in the rescue and/or notification of citizens during natural disasters.
The small unmanned aerial systems are utilized on a variety of incidents including searching for fleeing suspects, missing persons, and search warrant safety.
When not fighting crime, or saving lives, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office aviation unit provide other valuable services as well. Protection of natural resources, firefighting, critical infrastructure overflights, global positioning satellite mapping flights, photographic missions, fire and natural disaster management surveys, and prisoner transport are examples of just a few of the additional services provided.