Courtesy of San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
A new San Diego County Sheriff's Department service is available to keep you informed, a spokesperson said.
Sheriff's ASTREA (helicopter) uses a loudspeaker when searching for a missing person or suspect. Announcements also are made during critical incidents, such as a SWAT standoff, disasters, crowd management events or to give people a shelter-in-place notification.
This is not an automated or a push notification service. You still need to call or text "Hello" to 858-866-HELO each time you hear Sheriff's ASTREA making announcements over your area, a spokesperson said.
If there is more than one active broadcast at any given time, you have the option to choose the message that impacts your location.
While this program is free, you might have to pay to receive text messages depending on your phone plan, they said.
This 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 (Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies) is a countywide asset, which provided 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.