Aviation Support Unit

The Sheriff's two airplanes sit side by side at the Porterville Airport: Wren, at left, and Tribute, at right. Wren is a Cessna 182 which seats four, and Tribute is a Cessna 206 which seats six.


Through Sheriff Mike Boudreaux’s leadership and vision, the Sheriff’s Office has two new airplanes to keep a watchful eye over Tulare County. They are a Cessna 182 which seats four, and a Cessna 206 which seats six. 

These aircraft are outfitted with state of the art law enforcement avionics. 

The Sheriff’s Cessna 182 is named Wren in honor of the first Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputy who was killed in the line of duty. Deputy John “Nick” Wren, 40, lost his life on July 5, 1889.

Wren's tail numbers are 705JW for Dep. Wren's End of Watch date, July 5 and his initials, JW.

Wren is the Sheriff’s utility-based plane, taking an important role in supplementing search and rescue missions, clandestine marijuana detection operations throughout the County, inmate transportation and high-profile investigations. 

The Sheriff’s Cessna 206 is named Tribute in honor and in tribute to the fallen, including Dep. Ballantyne and Pilot Chavez who were killed in the line of duty in February 2016. Tribute's tail numbers 189JC combine Dep. Ballantyne's Badge No. 189 with Pilot Chavez's initials, JC.

Tribute is the Sheriff’s patrol-based plane and the Sheriff’s eyes in the sky, assisting deputies and other law enforcement agencies on the ground using high-tech surveillance equipment and cameras. Statistics indicate that when the Sheriff’s patrol aircraft is on duty, property crime and theft decrease while criminal apprehensions increase. These aircraft also provide superior officer safety for deputies and officers on the ground.