Aviation Unit

 

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit has been in service since 1996.  At that time, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office acquired three Bell OH-58 helicopters from the Department of Defense.  The Bell OH-58 is an observation type helicopter powered by a gas turbine engine.  Presently, the Sheriff’s Office has one of these aircraft in service.  The unit performs aviation operations in support of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and local police agencies. Typical operations include drug interdiction, search and rescue operations, routine patrol, aerial surveillance and Homeland Security patrol flights.

The call sign of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office helicopter is “County One”.  It is equipped with a thermal imaging system, spotlight, microwave downlink, and Public Address System.  The Aviation Unit is staffed by two pilots and three Tactical Flight Officers.  The air crews are qualified to operate with Night Vision Goggles.  This enhances their safety and capabilities during night operations.

 

In 2016, the Aviation Unit flew 56 missions with a total of 113 flight hours. This consisted 17 marijuana eradication patrols, and 26 Homeland Security and Border patrol flights.