Minutes from January 9, 2018-Sheriff’s Aviation Tour

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Open Board of Directors Meeting

Sheriff’s Aviation Division
199 Hanger Way
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present:   Carole Beswick, Deborah Barmack, Tom Brickley, Mike Burrows, Ken Coate, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Kevin Porter, Michael Rivera, Kristine Scott, and Ray Wolfe.

Guests: Adam Eventov and Arnold San Miguel


Announcements: 1) Inland Action’s Annual Meeting will be held next week.  Time will be available for Committees to discuss issues for the Sacramento trip in March.  2) The following have been newly proposed for membership:  Charter Communications represented by Del Heintz (https://www.spectrum.com/about.html), Patton Steel represented by Jon Novack (https://www.pattonscorp.com/index.php) and Precision Molded Plastics represented by David VanVoorhis  (http://www.precisionmoldedplastics.com/).  A second reading/announcement was made of potential member BIA Baldy View represented by Carlos Rodriguez (http://www.biabuild.com/ ).  Columbia Steel has submitted their resignation.

M/S/P: Minutes from December 12, 2017.

Mark Kaenel introduced John McMahon who has been Sheriff-Coroner of San Bernardino County since December 31, 2012.

The department serves over 2.1 million people residing within the County.  In addition to providing the primary law enforcement service for the unincorporated areas, they operate the county jail system, provide marshal services in the county superior courts and have contracts for law enforcement services to 14 of the 24 incorporated cities.  With an annual budget of more than $634 million dollars they have 1,866 sworn deputies, 1,548 professional employees and over 2,000 volunteers.

San Bernardino County is the largest county in the continental US at just over 20,000 square miles with terrain variations from wetlands in the southwest corner of the county to desert and mountainous regions to the east. The elevation rises from 600 ft. to 11, 500 ft. at the snow-covered peak of San Gorgonio, making the aviation division critical.

The aviation division is located on the San Bernardino International Airport property where the division has new offices that are adjacent to the two hangers that house their fleet of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.  The fleet consists of 5 fixed wing aircraft, 3 medium sized helicopters, 9 “patrol” helicopters and 1 training helicopter.  The helicopters can be certified for up to 12 years but then must retire or go through a complete tear down and rebuild to prolong their use.  They use their 6 full time aircraft mechanics to keep the fleet in good repair and certified. The patrol helicopters cost some $5 million dollars each and the department has relied heavily on funding from asset forfeiture.

The Sheriff’s Aviation Division provides:

Search and Rescue (SAR)

They have primary responsibility for SAR operations in the county. The division responds to approximately 250 calls for service each year. These calls range from technical hoist rescues, swift water rescues, injured skiers/boarders/hikers, major accident trauma victims.

Fire Suppression

They respond to approximately 80 brush and wildland fires each year.  The division has helicopters with water dropping capability.

Special Missions

Aviation responds to numerous special missions including: dive rescues, SWAT calls, marijuana extractions, etc. These technical missions require advance piloting and crew chief skills.


Surveillance and Transport Missions

They handle numerous special flights including: narcotics surveillance, homeland security missions, transportation of investigators and high-risk offenders. These missions are often flown utilizing the fixed wing aircraft that are equipped with cameras.

A Q & A period preceded a tour of the two aviation hangers.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m.