Alabama, Jefferson County Sheriff's Aviation Unit
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, headquartered in Birmingham Alabama, operates two Bell OH58 helicopters. The unit was first established on November 19th 2003 by Sheriff Mike Hale. At the time Jefferson County was one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Country without aerial law enforcement capabilities.
In July of 2004 The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office took possession of two non flyable Bell OH58 helicopters from Fort Rucker through the Department Of Defense 1033 excess property to law enforcement agencies program.
In 2005 the unit received $210,000 from the Department of Homeland Security and in early 2006 they received a $100,000 Technology Grant to upgrade the helicopter(s). On May 3rd 3006 Pemco Aeroplex Inc. based at Birmingham International Airport, delivered "Star 1" to the department after a full external restoration.
The primary mission of the Jefferson County Air Support Unit is to;
"Enhance county wide officer and public safety by providing effective aerial support to Jefferson County Law Enforcement Agencies and to enhance the effectiveness of federal, state, and local law enforcement units by providing airborne surveillance, drug eradication, observation and reporting of criminal activity."
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Aviation Unit is supported by approximately 25 Deputy Sheriff Reserve Volunteers.