Florence County Sheriff Office New Helicopter
After years of research and effort, Florence County in South Carolina officially entered the aviation age with the unveiling of its newly acquired Bell OH-58A Kiowa helicopter.
Florence County Sheriff Office, April 14, 2015 - After years of research and effort, Sheriff Kenney Boone and the Florence County Sheriff’s Office officially entered the aviation age today with the unveiling of its newly acquired Bell OH-58A “Kiowa” helicopter.
Florence County Sheriff’s Office joins 13 other South Carolina counties with an aviation unit and the only one in the Pee Dee region.
“Everything we do is measured by whether it tends to make the citizens of Florence County safer. This helicopter is no exception,” Sheriff Kenney Boone told the 2015 Florence Chamber of Commerce Leadership Florence Class earlier today at the Lesane Training Center in Effingham, SC where the helicopter was put on display for the first time. “We believe that the Aviation Division provides Florence County with an additional capability to save lives and improve effectiveness.”
The helicopter, named “Raptor 1” was acquired from the U.S. Department of Defense under the 1033 Program for little more than the cost of the fuel to fly it from it’s base in Kentucky. To purchase the helicopter new would cost over $4,000,000.00. It will be used to respond to critical incidents from the air, such as searching for missing persons, wandering Alzheimer’s patients, stolen property, fleeing suspects, contraband and will also assist other law enforcement agencies in the Pee Dee.
“Over just the past several weeks, we have searched for several missing persons in our County, including an 11 year old child, a stroke victim and a person who had been missing for several days,” Sheriff Boone stated. “And while we routinely request SLED’s helicopter to assist in these searches, it’s helicopter is not always available; and even when it is, it often takes hours to arrive. We now have the capability to search from the air on our own in a more timely and effective manner. As everyone knows, when it comes to searching for the lost, time is of the essence.”
Sheriff Boone thanked many in the community who assisted in the formation of the Aviation Division and the acquisition of the helicopter, including Florence County businessmen Mike Reichenbaugh, Jim Poston and Wendell Hall with Hall Aviation; other law enforcement agencies including Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and Lexington County Sheriff’ Office; and members of Florence County Council for their support.
“As you can see from the broad spectrum of people who have donated time, effort, talents and services, this project has solid support from across the community,” Sheriff Boone reported. “So today, FCSO proudly enters the aviation age and activates the FCSO Aviation Division as we seek to serve and protect the citizens of Florence County.”
Bell OH-58A Kiowa N58FC ( State of South Carolina )
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