The Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division maintains a 24-hour, 7 days a week, single-aircraft mission response capability. The standard duty crew is comprised of one pilot and two paramedic qualified police officers. If you listen to air traffic control for Dulles or National Airport you will routinely hear the crew communicate using the call sign "Fairfax 1."
Fairfax 1 provides tactical police aviation support, aeromedical evacuation, search & rescue, and other specialized air support as needed within Fairfax County, and through mutual aid agreements to other jurisdictions within the National Capital Region to enhance public safety and welfare.
If the helicopter is circling your neighborhood it is on a mission. You can contact the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications at (703) 691-2131 and they will tell you what type of mission the helicopter is on. The Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division also posts recent missions on their website and that website is updated at least once a week.
The crew members take the noise produced by the helicopter into account on every mission flown. The division uses the Helicopter Association International's Fly Neighborly Guide as a model for helicopter noise reduction. Unfortunately, due to mission critical components of certain flights, the crew cannot always adhere to those guidelines.
If you are a member of a community organization based in Fairfax County, or a Fairfax County employee working in your official capacity, you can request a demonstration or fly-over. The crew can fly-out to a predetermined location to meet with your organization, fly over a special event, or meet your group at the hangar so you can see the helicopter first hand. (Examples include Fairfax County Public Schools, scout troops, National Night Out events)
Pointing a laser at any aircraft, helicopter or fixed wing, is a federal crime with a punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any individual who aims a laser at aircraft. The reward is available for 90 days in all 56 FBI field offices ( FBI Press Release June 03, 2014).
The operation of unmanned aircraft (UA/drones), to include model aircraft, is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Information concerning the operation of UAs can be found on the FAQ section of the FAA website. Additionally, the District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Ronald-Reagan Washington National Airport are a No Drone Zone. This includes a portion of Fairfax County. Further information can be found at DC IS A NO DRONE ZONE.