The Aviation unit assists patrol in all enforcements functions such as pursuits, officer safety, drug bust support, marijuana eradication, special operations and search and rescue. It provides services to any surrounding counties that request help.
The unit was formed in 1996 when the Sheriff’s Office procured surplus helicopters from the military. It now has a fleet of four OH-58+ and one UH-1H (Huey). It is strictly operated by drug seizures, fines and forfeitures at little cost to taxpayers.
The helicopters have been called to assist during national disasters such as flood ravaged North Carolina when Hurricane Floyd hit the state and during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.