WEATHER »
Members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Aviation Unit (left to right, Lieutenant Sonny LeGault, pilot retired-Deputy Dave Wight, Detective Adam Reichick, pilot Sergeant Gregg Weitzman, Senior Deputy Jon Simon, mechanic Mel Mobley)

Press Release

Members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Aviation Unit (left to right, Lieutenant Sonny LeGault, pilot retired-Deputy Dave Wight, Detective Adam Reichick, pilot Sergeant Gregg Weitzman, Senior Deputy Jon Simon, mechanic Mel Mobley)


Sheriff’s Aviation Unit Receives Night Vision Award

SBSO One of Two Agencies Recognized for 10-Year Service


The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Aviation Unit is being honored for more than 10 years of safe flying while using night vision equipment to protect the public.

In 1998, the Sheriff’s Aviation Unit increased its ability to run operations after sundown when it purchased four pairs of night vision goggles thanks to a special grant through the Sheriff’s Council. At that time, the Sheriff’s Aviation Unit was the first law enforcement agency west of the Mississippi River to use the ITT Generation 3 ANVIS-9 aviator goggles. The special goggles use state of the art technology to amplify existing light (i.e. moonlight, reflections) to see objects that would otherwise be hidden by darkness.

Over the last thirteen years, the Sheriff’s Aviation Unit has used the goggles for countless missions including, partnering with the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue Team in locating missing persons, following suspects during pursuits, and attacking wildfires at night, the last of which earned members of the Aviation Unit a prestigious H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor after they dropped water through the night during the Tea Fire in November, 2008.

Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU), which supplies night vision equipment to more than two-thousand agencies, honored the first annual Night Vision Award winners during a luncheon held March 7, 2011, in Orlando Florida. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Aviation Unit was one of only two agencies to be recognized with a 10-Year Night Vision Award.

“It is an honor to recognize all the recipients this year,” said founder and CEO of ASU Mike Atwood, “There are so many organizations and people out there everyday using night vision to help their communities. We were glad to honor some of them today.”

“We’ve found more than 200 people during rescue operations over the last 13 years,” said pilot Sergeant Gregg Weitzman of the Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, “These goggles allow us to fly safely at night and are the single best tool we have in our toolbox.”

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Jack Hawxhurst Dies

Led Goleta to cityhood and served as mayor and on council.

City Outlines New Homeless Plan After Scrapping ‘Tiny Home’ Idea

$2 million in state funds will now go to Cottage, police, and a street outreach team.

The Migrant Caravan and Central American History

Understanding the migrant caravan requires an awareness of Central America's recent history, social scientists say.

Procore Technology Valued at $3 Billion

New financing boost of $75 million ups construction software company.

Rescue Mission Plans Annual Feast and Giveaway

December 20 event celebrates the holidays and provides warm clothing.