SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — When a San Diego Sheriff's helicopter flies over your area making announcements, is it difficult to hear what they’re saying or figure out who they’re looking for? Well, now the Sheriff’s Department says it has a fix for that.
The department has a new service to keep you informed. The department posted a public safety video to their Twitter page with a QR code you can scan to receive messages straight to your phone! All you have to do is call or text “Hello” to (858) 866-HELO (4356).
According to the department, "Sheriff’s ASTREA (Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies) (helicopter) uses a loudspeaker when searching for a missing person or suspect. Announcements are also made during critical incidents such as a SWAT standoff, disasters, crowd management events or to give people a shelter in place notification."
However, this is not an automated or a push notification system. When you hear Sheriff’s ASTREA making announcements in your area, you still need to call or text “Hello” to the number above, according to the department.
Currently, this service is only for sheriff’s patrol areas. To find out if your community is on the list, click here.
While this program is free, you might have to pay to receive text messages depending on your phone plan. The department also noted that the phone line is not for reporting a crime or emergency. For emergencies, call 9-1-1. For non-emergencies, call (858) 565-5200.
Sheriff's ASTREA is a countywide asset that has been providing support to the department and partner agencies since 1971. It currently has nine helicopters. It averages 2,000 missions each year to support patrol, as well as fire and rescue calls around the clock.