Sheriff's Office adds new helicopter to fleet

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office recently announced it has added a new helicopter to its fleet of emergency response vehicles.

According to a statement from the sheriff’s office released Thursday, DeKalb County has “one of the highest call rates for aviation assets in the state, and we have always had to rely on other outside agencies to assist us.”

Officials will now be able to respond much faster to emergencies involving children and elderly who have become lost, locating lost hikers and victims of falls in wilderness areas, forest fires, and assisting deputies and police on the ground in need, the statement reads.

The helicopter will be a countywide used asset and available for mutual aid.

Pilots Weston Fortner, Rodney Graham, Robert Theakston and Matt Martin are all in various stages of training with unit volunteers Wilborn Hall and David Moreland on this project for more than two years. This new advancement, in addition to the training, has been made possible by donations, grants and volunteer support and has not cost the taxpayers of DeKalb County, according to Sheriff Nick Welden.

"We would like to thank the ALEA Aviation Unit, B & G Flying Services, Marshall County Aviation Unit, Dale County Aviation Unit, Darwin Spivey Aviation, Carter's Body Shop, CP Auto Parts, EAA and all of the employees at Isbell Field,” Welden said. “This resource has been desperately needed for many years in DeKalb County and we are proud to have been able to make it a reality through persistence and hard work. It's going to save lives in our community."

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