California, East Bay Regional Park Police Helicopter Unit
To understand the East Bay Regional Park Police air support unit one must first take a look at the East Bay Regional Park District and understand just who or what it is.
The East Bay Regional Park District was formed in 1934 for the purposes of protecting excess watershed lands in the Oakland and Berkeley Hills. East Bay simply refers to the area east of San Francisco Bay. Today, almost 75 years later, the East Bay Regional Park District covers the entire area of both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. More than just covering two counties, the district covers over 100,000 plus acres, some 65 parks, and about 1150 miles of trails. To top it off the district receives some 14 million visitors annually.
One can quickly see the need for the district to not only have it's own police department, but it's own police helicopter unit, fire department, and lifeguards.
The East Bay Regional Park Police own and operate two turbine powered Eurocopter AS350 helicopters staffed by two police pilots and one volunteer medic. The helicopter unit flies missions in support of all district police officers, as well as enhancing the safety of all park visitors. The helicopter unit also provides mutual aid support to any public safety agency in Alameda or Contra Costa County when called upon to do so.
During fire season the East Bay Regional Park Police helicopter "Eagle" doubles as a fire fighting aerial asset when fire breaks out. The helicopter routinely carries a Bambi Bucket on all patrol flights, which can be quickly attached underneath the helicopter should a fire break out.
In addition to fires and police support, the helicopter is dispatched on all medical aid calls within the park district. The helicopter can often land and administer direct first aid to park visitors who fall ill or become injured. The East Bay Regional Park Police helicopter can easily be configured as an air ambulance and can be called upon to transport critically ill or injured patients from remote locations within the district if needed.