DeSoto aviation unit patrols from above - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto aviation unit patrols from above

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - If you took a survey and asked people if they knew there was a law enforcement aviation unit in Hernando, Mississippi, how many people would know the answer?

The DeSoto County Sheriff's Department's aviation unit is a major part of the department's effort in fighting crime.

"A lot of people think when a helicopter's up there that we've got something major going on, and really the helicopter up just patrolling the way a regular officer would be," DeSoto County Deputy Chief Frank Rainey said.

The unit has three OH-6A helicopters that can fly up to 140 miles per hour. Eight pilots fly different shifts that total about 12 hours a day around the county.

Lt. Bill Camp, who has been flying since 1969, and joined this unit in 2001, says they cover quite a bit of ground.

"We go into as far as Panola County, LaFayette County, Grenada County, Quitman County, Coahoma County. If they need help, they call us and we provide assistance to them," he said.

Camp said being the 'eye in the sky' is a good deterrent for those who might want to break the law.

"We patrol the county," he said. "When the helicopter's up, it's a good deterrent for burglars."

Chief Deputy Rainey also told me that future plans include the purchase of another helicopter that would have a FLIR camera system and recording capabilities.

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