"Rescue 3" ready to save lives, property in Spokane, CDA

From putting out fires to searching for missing hikers, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office is known for saving lives from the skies. Friday, the department added to its fleet of air support.

"Rescue 3" will focus on search and rescue as well as fire support and suppression. It will greatly expanded the capabilities for the Air Support Unit.

"It's a bigger, stronger helicopter," said Undersheriff Dave Ellis. "It will help us complete missions we were unable to in the past."

And community leaders from various law enforcement and fire agencies all agree it wouldn't have been possible without Ellis.

"I think it's so important, yeah," he said. "We applied for it a couple years back."

Ellis stayed on it, dedication and hard work eventually landing "Rescue 3" right here in Spokane Valley. Ellis was able to secure it through a government surplus program at no cost to you.

"It's beautiful … and in great condition," he said. "We really lucked out."

But stats show it's more than just luck. With a perfect safety record, and assists on countless arrests, it's an expansion of something Spokane and North Idaho can take great pride in.

"We're proud the air unit is one of only 10 accredited in the nation," Ellis said.