EUGENE, Ore. — The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is seeing to it that its only helicopter is well taken care of, even if it isn’t in use.
The chopper has gone on many missions and operations, but budget cuts in 2012 put a stop to them. After that, the chopper was stored in a hangar, which was paid for by tax dollars. However, that is no longer the case.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with the Lane Aviation Academy to house the aircraft at the academy’s training department on Airport Road. There, Lane Community College students provide routine maintenance and periodic inspections required by the FAA. Best of all, it’s completely free of charge, saving taxpayers more than $5,000 in storage and maintenance fees.
“Taxpayers save money and the students at LCC have a very modern aircraft that they can work on, maintain, and be trained on ready for when they go into their employment after graduation from this program,” says Sgt. Steve French from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
The helicopter is now back to FAA standards and ready for flight, but the sheriff’s office doesn’t have the funding to operate it. If the sheriff’s office does receive funding, it has certified pilots on hand for law enforcement operations.