Deputy Pilot Steve Saffell, Sedgwick Co. Sheriff's Office
Lt. Lin Dehning, Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Deputy Steve Saffell is not your “typical” law enforcement officer. That’s because he is one of the pilots who fly the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office twin engine plane.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 25 years, and so I have two passions,” said Deputy Saffell. “One is the law enforcement side which I get to do, and the other side is flying, so I get to combine both of my passions into one job.”
In the 14 years he’s flown the plane for the sheriff’s office, he estimates he has transported as many as 2,800 inmates on extradition flights.
“When someone gets picked up in another state and the district attorney’s office or the judge says they want that individual brought back, the sheriff is mandated by state law to do it,” said Saffell.
The extradition process, representatives with the Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office tell KSN News, is under a legal time constraint.
“We have to go out and pick these people up, so time is of the essence,” explained Lt. Lin Dehning. “If we did not have this aircraft, we would have to send people out on commercial flights or send them out over ground in patrol cars. It would take a lot more people to do the job that we, with three people, do in one aircraft.”
The Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office has had a plane on its fleet for nearly 30 years.
The county purchased its current plane — the Twin Commander Rockwell 690A Model Aircraft — in 1997 for $1.2 million.
In 2015, the SCSO spent a little more than $346,000 on hangar, maintenance, and fuel costs for the aircraft. The sheriff’s office flew the plane for 475 hours last year, totaling about $729 per hour.
Lt. Lin Dehning told KSN that when all things are considered, including time, felony warrant status, and the alternative — traveling on the ground which would require officers work overtime — the plane is a well worthwhile investment.
“We’re getting more bang, with the taxpayer buck,” said Lt. Dehning.
To read the agreement for maintenance of the aircraft, click here:
Agreement for Maintenance of Twin Commander Aircraft Model 690A
For more information about the Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office, visit their website.
Story and video: http://ksn.com