An August 25 letter from Sheriff Sadie Darnell to Gainesville City Manager Lee Feldman provided notification that the Aviation Unit (no longer the Joint Aviation Unit) will be reduced to one shift of operation and will be operated and managed solely by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
The letter indicated that Feldman had sent an email on August 17, stating that the City was willing to provide funding for a GPD pilot and GPD Tactical Flight Officer but that they were unwilling to share in the operational costs of the Joint Aviation Unit.
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The letter went on: “Due to this financial inequity and that the notification comes so late in preparing for fiscal year 2020/2021, the County is unable to fund these unexpected costs in order to sustain the Aviation Unit’s coverage. As a result, the Aviation Unit will be reduced to one shift of operation and will be operated and managed solely by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.”
When asked for comment, Gainesville Police Department’s Press Information Officer Graham Glover sent the following by email: “Both GPD pilots assigned to the Joint Aviation Unit are currently out on extended leave. However, GPD still has access to the helicopters if needed.”