They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. Luckily, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department’s latest addition came through with flying colors.
“Eagle One,” a JetRanger helicopter, was introduced at the annual Sheriff’s Posse Picnic on Aug. 20 by Sheriff John D’Agostini and pilots Ed Rincon and Dr. Richard Moorhouse.
The helicopter landed at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds during the picnic, adding some extra “oomph” to the department’s announcement.
Authorities hope “Eagle One,” which seats several and can reach speeds of 150 mph, will provide deputies with yet another tool for faster, more efficient search and rescue efforts in the county’s more mountainous terrain.
Moorhouse said the JetRanger will be especially handy for search and rescue K9 units needing to cross lakes that would otherwise take hours to traverse by vehicle or foot.
Law enforcement will also be able to use the helicopter to conduct safer narcotics patrols, as it will allow law enforcement to detect marijuana gardens from the air.
But perhaps the best thing about “Eagle One”: It doesn’t cost taxpayers or the county a dime.
Both Rincon and Moorhouse agreed to join the department as reserve deputies and offered the JetRanger to aid with community efforts. Both reserve deputies will work in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Air Squadron.
The helicopter’s fuel will be covered through Federal Asset forfeiture funds.
Sheriff D’Agostini said the addition of the helicopter is yet another sign of residents doing their part to help.
”This is another example of the volunteerism we have in El Dorado County — citizens wanting to get involved in keeping our communities safe,” he said. “I want to thank Dr. Moorhouse and Ed Rincon for taking our service to the community to the next level.”
The arrival of “Eagle One” is the latest in the department’s efforts to increase its community presence without asking residents to shoulder the financial burden.
Earlier this year, the Sheriff’s Department opened a substation in El Dorado Hills staffed entirely by volunteers with the Sheriff’s Team of Active Retirees (STARs).
Also, the hours of operation for the department’s lobby, records and civil divisions were all extended, again without additional county cost.
“The Sheriff’s Office has over 600 volunteers who are committed to public safety and service to others,” said D’Agostini.
Individuals interested in volunteering with the department or with ideas to better public safety are asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 530-621-5615.
E-mail Jim Ratajczak at email@example.com or call 530-344-5069.