SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- In mid-August the Spokane County Sheriff's office announced they're getting new helicopters. The new helicopters will replace the aging Air One chopper that the Sheriff's office uses right now. On Friday we got a first hand look at one of the two helicopters, which were donated by the U.S. Army and cost taxpayers nothing.
The Sheriff's Air One program was created in 2005, and assists in everything from water rescues, searches for escaped inmates, even high speed pursuits. One of the new helicopters will serve as a backup to Air One when it's grounded for maintenance. The second will be used for parts, which are becoming more and more expensive. The Sheriff's office has been on a waiting list for several years hoping for another aircraft. Sgt. Dave Ellis, an Air One pilot, says the office was very fortunate to finally get this helicopters, which came from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Seattle.
The Sheriff's office says this isn't an expansion of the Air One program, and you won't see helicopters flying more often. It just means air support will now be available anytime they're needed.