At a time when many municipalities are grounding their law
enforcement helicopter assets due to the recession, it's obviously
bad form for a sheriff's department pilot to go flying with a
female friend in a $1,000/hour Eurocopter AS 350 (similar aircraft
pictured). But that's what is said to have happened in Orange
County, California. Officials are not amused, especially since this
would not be the first time it's happened.
The Orange County Register reports that on November 10, pilot
and Sergeant Han O took off for a one-hour flight about 1030 PST.
But along for the ride was Deputy Sherri Demaio, whose assigned to
central court, and not a trained observer. The incident is being
called a "ride-along," but such arrangements are supposed to be
approved in advance by the department.
The sheriff's office has started an investigation after an
anonymous tip was sent to some members of the Orange County Board
of Supervisors. The Register reports previous officials sent one
flight crew to retrieve a lost purse, and allegedly used other
flights for “amorous trysts” during the tenure of
former Sheriff Michael Carona, who resigned in 2008 and spent 66
months in prison after a conviction on a witness tampering