Based out of the Modesto City/County Airport, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Air Support Unit started out as a volunteer based organization known as the Aero Squadron. It consisted of volunteer pilots and their fixed wing aircraft. In 1995, several OH-58 Helicopters were acquired through the Military and the unit expanded its fleet. The OH-58’s are now long gone and we currently operate two Bell Helicopters. The Helicopters were obtained through generous donations and county funding.
Over the last several years, the volunteers have been replaced with full time Deputies, both as Pilots and Tactical Flight Officers. Located in the heart of the Central Valley, it is the only Public Safety Aviation Unit in the 1,500 square mile county.
The Stanislaus County ASU consists of two Sergeants, three Deputy Sheriff Pilots, three Deputy Sheriff TFOs, and one Modesto Police Department TFO. Each mission consists of at least one pilot and one TFO. When a mission calls for additional personnel, additional TFOs or other specialized personnel are added to assist for a successful mission.
The unit flys approximately 1200 hours per year on missions varying between law enforcement, search and rescue and drug interdiction.
The Stanislaus County ASU is one of very few Aviation Units in the region. We are often called upon by various local, state, and federal agencies to assist in incidents including but not limited to: vehicle pursuits, foot pursuits, perimeters, search and rescues, insertion and extrication of critical personnel, and critical incidents of all types.
Our aircraft are equipped with state of the art equipment to assist with our Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue missions. GPS, night vision goggles, moving map systems, infrared cameras, and a 30 million candle power spearch light are just some of the pieces of equipment utilized to ensure missions are executed safely and effectively.
The ASU is a force multiplier in the region and an incredible asset.