ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office debuted its newest addition to its fleet on Thursday at the Lumberton Municipal Airport.

Several Robeson County officials attended the event, the sheriff’s office said.

It was initially assigned to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, but after an agreement between Sheriff Bill Rogers and Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, the helicopter has been assigned to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.

“Receiving a helicopter from the state Department of Public Safety LESO Program (Law Enforcement Support Office) is something I have worked towards since taking office in 2018,” Burnis said in a post through the sheriff’s office app. “As the state’s largest landmass county, this addition will be beneficial in assisting with surveillance and search operations, searches for wanted, missing and endangered persons and other airborne operations to assist our first responders.”

The sheriff’s office said it will now use the Bell Ranger OH-58 helicopter as well as two drones to provide air support to the county and surrounding counties upon request. The helicopter itself and mandated maintenance will come at no cost to the county.

Caleb is a digital producer at News13. Caleb joined the team in January 2023 after graduating from Liberty University. He is from Northern Virginia. Follow Caleb on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.