Sonoma County Sheriff Bell 407. Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Sheriff
California's Sonoma County Sheriff's department took delivery of a new helicopter this week. "Henry-1," as its called, a newer version of its previous 22-year-old Bell 407, is based at Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa.
The department's helicopter unit is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to various emergencies including search and rescue, law enforcement, medical and firefighting missions. It occasionally also serves neighboring jurisdictions where no helicopter program exists. The unit carries out 900 missions annually.
The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine helicopter and can be flown with a single pilot and configured for up to five passengers. It is equipped with forward-looking infrared (FLIR), wire-strike avoidance, external oxygen tank, dual-hook system for long-line rescue operations, night-vision system, moving map display, and rescue and medical equipment, according to the unit's website.
Sonoma County's board of supervisors approved the purchase for the $5.5 million helicopter in August 2017, according to local media reports. The office would pay most of the cost using state and federal asset forfeiture funds, with the rest covered by a $100,000 federal grant and loans.