The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Aviation Division is the lead aerial law enforcement agency in our county. The Sheriff's Aviation Division provides assistance to all allied federal/state/county and city agencies. The Aviation Division also supports and responds to Region 6 counties through California State OES.
The division provides the following services: general law enforcement support, narcotics surveillance, personnel/cargo transport, airborne photography, search and rescue/recovery, multi-agency pursuit coordination, wild land fire suppression, emergency medical services transport, public relations displays and recruitment support.
San Bernardino County is the largest county in the continental US at just over 20,000 square miles. Terrain varies from wetlands in the southwest corner of the county to desert and mountainous regions to the east. The elevation rises from 600 ft msl to 11, 500 ft msl at the snow covered peak of San Gorgonio.
Search and Rescue
SBSD Aviation Division has primary responsibility for SAR operations in the county. The division responds to approximately 250 calls for service each year. These calls range from technical hoist rescues, swift water rescues, injured skiers/boarders/hikers and major accident trauma victims.
SBSD Aviation Division responds to approximately 80 brush and wild land fires each year. All of the divisions helicopters have water-dropping capability.
SBSD Aviation responds to numerous special missions including: dive rescues, SWAT calls, marijuana extractions, etc. These technical missions require advance piloting and crew chief skills.
Surveillance and Transport Missions
SBSD Aviation handles numerous special flights including: narcotics surveillance, homeland security missions, transportation of investigators and high-risk offenders. These missions are often flown utilizing the fixed wing aircraft assigned to the division.
History: The division was first formed in 1972 by Terry Jagerson. The first two helicopters were turbo charged civil aviation Bell 47G helicopters obtained through federal grant monies. San Bernardino County was one of four counties in the state to receive one of these aviation grants. Over the years as the division expanded to fulfill the needs of the county. Aircraft were obtained through a combination of grants, federal excess property and general funds.