A well equipped aviation unit is one of the most valuable assets a law enforcement agency can have. Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office acquired their Bell OH-58 helicopter in 2009 through a military surplus program. This program allows the agency to purchase parts for the surplus helicopters, fuel, flight suits and other miscellaneous items directly from the military at tremendously reduced prices… sometimes pennies on the dollar.
The Aviation Unit’s multifaceted mission includes surveillance flights, active searches for criminal suspects, vehicle chases, searching for lost or endangered individuals, search and rescue missions, disaster assessment, and airborne support to Brunswick County’s Emergency Services and Fire Departments. The unit also plays an active and key role in activities relating to homeland security details and providing aerial security/surveillance for Port Security, Sunny Point, Progress Energy and assisting the Coast guard with security and search and rescue missions.
The unit is available and is frequently called upon to assist other agencies within Brunswick and surrounding counties.
The unit is solely funded by drug seizure funds and grants. At no time are any county tax dollars spent on the helicopter program. The unit continuously looks for ways to acquire the latest technology without impacting the agency’s overall budget. During the past two years the unit has secured grants to purchase Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) camera systems, GPS moving maps, searchlights, and night vision goggles.