The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office has added a helicopter to its crime fighting and rescue resources.
Dubbed Eagle One, the Jet Ranger helicopter bears Sheriff's Office decals but is owned and operated by pilots Ed Rincon and Richard Moorehouse. The men have volunteered their services as reserve deputies as well as the use of their helicopter for community service efforts, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
With volunteer pilots using their own aircraft, there is no cost to taxpayers or the county, officials said. Federal asset forfeiture funds will be used to pay for the fuel.
The helicopter will allow deputies to respond faster, particularly for search and rescue efforts in mountainous terrain and other areas that are difficult to reach. For example, officials said, the helicopter can quickly transport search and rescue K-9 units across a lake that might be only a mile or two wide but would take hours to drive or hike the same distance.
Officials said the helicopter also will make it easier to detect illegal marijuana gardens, providing increased safety and efficiency for narcotics patrols.
Rincon and Moorehouse will work in conjunction with the Sheriff's Air Squadron.