The Desoto County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit began over 25 yrs ago using surplus military TH55 helicopters. During the mid 1990’s, the unit acquired a surplus Hughes OH6A military turbine aircraft.
The Aviation Unit provides Airborne Law Enforcement assistance to any federal, state, county, or municipal agency where the solution of a problem or mission may be obtained through the use of aerial support inside and outside of the county.
Currently, our full-time staff includes... two paid pilots and one paid tactical flight officer along with volunteer pilots and tactical flight officers. We are available on a 24/7/365 basis. In addition to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department personnel, the unit created a joint task force using officers from the Hernando Police Department and Horn Lake Police Department who serve as TFO’s.
■ Crimes in progress – Robberies, burglaries, disturbances, etc
■ Support of Ground Units (increasing Officer Safety)
■ Search for lost or stranded persons, suspects, and escapees
■ Tactical Support, Surveillance, and Aerial Insertion – S.W.A.T. and K-9
■ Provide long distance covert surveillance as well as routine aerial surveillance for investigative units
■ Vehicle Pursuit
■ Provide assistance to Incident Commanders during any unusual occurrences or events, i.e. tornado relief, Flooding, Fire, Riots, and conduct disaster assessment
■ Fire – thermal surveillance of brush/grass fires and 'hot spot' location
■ Drug eradication and surveillance
■ Force multiplier – One aircraft can cover an area that would require a minimum of four ground units
■ Serve as an aerial deterrent to crime by the conspicuous presence of the aircraft
■ Assist with Traffic Control
■ Fly photographic missions as required for planning, analysis, surveying, or evidence gathering
We operate 3 aircraft:
Sheriff 1 - Robinson R-44 Raven II Police Version
Sheriff 2 - Hughes OH-6A
Sheriff 3 - Hughes MH-6C