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$10,000 fuel donation will keep sheriff’s plane in air for six months

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POSTED July 15, 2015 6:24 p.m.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Air-1 fixed wing airplane has a guarantee of $10,000 for fuel to keep its two deputies in the air thanks to the donation from the non-profit Fueling California.

Sheriff Steve Moore received the check from Bob Guiterrez, board president of Fueling California, Tuesday morning in the Sheriff’s hanger at the Stockton Airport . Most of the other police donations are made toward helicopter operations; however the Sheriff’s department had to curtail flying its helicopter some 11 years ago due to expenses.

When law enforcement in the county is in need of a helicopter to provide an aerial platform, either the CHP or the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department provides mutual aid to San Joaquin County.

A helicopter or fixed wing aircraft can do the work of some 20 to 25 deputies on the ground throughout a county, deputies said.  From some 1,000 feet in altitude the Sheriff’s flight crew has a unique view of the county and its half dozen cities from Lodi to Ripon.  The officers can locate fleeing suspects in ground police chases and aid in sealing off crime scenes to keep suspects from getting away from officers on the street.

The quick response time of an air unit can put the aircraft from one side of the county to the other in minutes often making the air crew the first deputies on the scene to analyze the situation for responding deputies.

Sheriff Moore said the donation will allow for an invaluable aerial platform for deputies.  Even though the department has only a fixed wing aircraft to patrol the county, its crew is in a perfect position to direct incoming helicopter units to assist or transport injured citizens to safety.

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