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The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Airborne Public Safety Association (APSA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership; nor shall their publication imply endorsement on the part of APSA of any content or claims made therein. APSA disclaims all warranties, express or implied, and makes no judgment regarding the accuracy of posted information. In no event will APSA be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages resulting from the publication or any subsequent public distribution thereof...

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The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Airborne Public Safety Association (APSA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership; nor shall their publication imply endorsement on the part of APSA of any content or claims made therein. APSA disclaims all warranties, express or implied, and makes no judgment regarding the accuracy of posted information. In no event will APSA be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages resulting from the publication or any subsequent public distribution thereof.




APSA's E-Newsletter is designed to help keep you informed on the very latest information in the airborne law enforcement industry. The E-Newsletter may also be read online here at our website.

Bell Helicopter Breaks Ground on New Aircraft Assembly Facility

PhotoBell Helicopter recently began construction on a new facility in Lafayette, LA, where it intends to assemble the Bell 505 JetRanger XTM. The 82,300-square-foot, $26.3 million hangar facility will be built on a 14.5-acre site. The project is funded by the State of Louisiana, and the company plans to invest $11.4 million in equipment and tooling. Assembly operations are expected to start by 2016, following certification.

Bell Helicopter reports it has received more than 200 purchase agreements for the Bell 505. The five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter is intended to complement the original Bell JetRanger in the short light single market. The first Bell 505 test aircraft is being constructed at Bell Helicopter's commercial assembly facility in Mirabel, Canada, and first flight is expected to take place by the end of 2014. The aircraft has a cruise speed of 125 knots (232 km/h), range of 360 nautical miles (667 km) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (608 kg).


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CHP Awards Fleet Replacement Contract, Outsources SMS

PhotoThe California Highway Patrol (CHP) has contracted to purchase up to 15 AS350 B3e helicopters. The initial order, placed with Airbus Helicopters in September, is for three years with two one-year options. Other state and local government agencies in California can purchase new AStar helicopters through the contract. In addition, CHP has selected Professional Resources In System Management, LLC (PRISM) to manage its safety management system in the future.

The CHP helicopters will include an advanced avionics and mission equipment suite featuring the Garmin G500H electronic flight information system, FLIR Systems 380HDc thermal imager, Spectrolab XP searchlight and the Churchill Augmented Reality System moving map system displayed on an 15-inch Avalex HD monitor. Each helicopter will be equipped with a Goodrich 500 pound hoist, a key tool for CHP's many search and rescue missions. Hangar One Avionics of Carlsbad, CA, will perform completion services for the contract.

CHP has signed a three-year contract with PRISM at the SMS Professional level. The PRISM Professional package includes access to its Aviation Risk Management Online Resource (ARMOR). A web-based system, ARMOR allows operators to manage the activity within their SMS from any internet-accessible location around the globe, 24 hours a day.

SOURCE: Airbus Helicopters Inc. and

Japan National Police Orders New Chopper for Kyoto

PhotoThe Japan National Police Agency (JNPA) has ordered an AW109 Power light twin helicopter to be operated by the Kyoto Police. The helicopter, manufactured by AgustaWestland, will replace an aging B206 model and will be delivered in December 2015.

The helicopter will be configured for law enforcement missions with role equipment such as a rescue hoist, searchlight and rappelling kit. The delivery of the aircraft will bring the total number of AW109 series helicopters operated by JNPA to 27, the largest fleet of a single helicopter type in operation within the JNPA and operating prefectures throughout Japan.

SOURCE: AgustaWestland

Old Equipment Linked to Fatal Las Vegas SAR Accident

Outdated equipment has been found to be the cause of the death of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer David VanBuskirk, who fell 25 feet when he became detached from a helicopter hoist during a search and rescue mission on July 22, 2013. The hook, which features a non-locking gate and has been in use for about 50 years, was deemed unsafe and has since been replaced by an auto-locking hook.

PhotoKen Phillips, chief of the National Park Service's search and rescue branch, said most helicopter rescue units have upgraded to the newer hook. "They are so commonplace now in the helicopter rescue industry," he said. Los Angeles County's search and rescue team made the switch more than 15 years ago.

Captain Charles Hank, who oversees the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Aviation Unit, said no one person is to blame for the accident, and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said he doesn't think Metro failed to supervise the safety of the unit. When meeting with other agencies over the years, including many that used locking hooks, he said no one mentioned Metro's hooks were a problem.


2014 Canadian Region Safety Seminar Just Around the Corner

PhotoThe 2014 Canadian Region Safety Seminar is next week, Oct. 15-17, in Ottawa, ON. The event will be hosted by the Ottawa Police Service Air Section at the Courtyard by Marriott Ottawa Downtown.

While the deadline for the group hotel reservation rate has passed, rooms are still available, and registration for the event is open through the end of the seminar. Contact Rob O'Quinn, APSA Canadian Region Director, at (416) 569-0017 or roquinn@PublicSafetyAviation.orgfor more information.


Fort Bend to Add Two Surplus Helicopters

PhotoThe Fort Bend County (TX) Sheriff's Office will soon put into service two military surplus helicopters. County commissioners voted in late August to accept the donation of the OH-58A Kiowa observation helicopters through the Texas 1033 Military Surplus Property Program, which connects local law enforcement with excess Department of Defense equipment.

While the practice of acquiring military surplus helicopters is commonplace, President Barack Obama has ordered a review of surplus programs in response to protests in Ferguson, MO. "There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those lines blurred," Obama told Associated Press reporters at the White House. "That would be contrary to our traditions." Former Attorney General Eric Holder and several lawmakers have suggested that the practice of supplying police with such military surplus be reconsidered.


Helicopter Accident Rate Down by Half, IHST Releases New Safety Bulletins

The San Jose (CA) Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in its area to acquire an unmanned aircraft system when it purchased a Century NEO 660 V2 hexacopter for $7,000 in January. The purchase was made public in late July, though department officials have not yet indicated full guidelines for the aircraft's use. San Jose police officials said in early August they "should have done a better job of communicating" with the public about their UAS purchase.

PhotoThe department bought the UAS using federal grant money for the stated purpose of aiding its bomb squad in assessing threats. The UAS reportedly will be available to 13 other bomb squads around the area, including law enforcement agencies in San Francisco and Oakland. San Jose Bomb Squad Sergeant Douglas Wedge said the UAS costs 95 percent less than bomb robots used for the same purpose.

Though officials have said only the bomb squad will use the drone, the San Jose Police Department is still in the process of drafting its full policies for UAS use. Opposition to UAS use has been particularly fierce in California, where the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and San Mateo County Sheriff's Office have been prevented from acquiring the aircraft. The San Francisco Police Department's recent bid for a UAS also failed.


PhotoSwiss Police Use UAS for Accident Photos

The Swiss Police based in Zurich began using an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to take aerial photos of traffic accidents in early September. The police department purchased the UAS in partnership with the Zurich Department of Geomatics and Surveying, which intends to use the device to update its 3-D map of the city.

A Zurich police spokesperson said the department doesn't intend to use the aircraft to monitor citizens or public events. Police in Bern, Switzerland, are also currently operating a UAS mainly to capture overhead images of serious accidents. The Bern police have also used it to photograph fires and aid investigations, and have considered deploying it to investigate environmental crimes by taking land measurements.


ARGUS Sponsors PSAAC and Accreditation Standard

PhotoARGUS International, Inc. has entered into a sponsorship agreement with the Public Safety Aviation Accreditation Commission (PSAAC), previously known has the Airborne Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. The agreement recognizes ARGUS's support of PSAAC as the official accreditation authority for the airborne law enforcement community.

A robust and active safety management system (SMS) stands at the core of the PSAAC Standards. Airborne law enforcement organizations seeking PSAAC accreditation must demonstrate they have an SMS in place that meets this standard, and PRISM provides an outsourced SMS for law enforcement programs, making the sponsorship agreement a natural fit.

"On behalf of all of the PSAAC Commissioners, I am delighted to welcome and acknowledge ARGUS International, Inc. as a sponsor of our Law Enforcement Aviation Standards and Accreditation Program," said PSAAC President Jim Di Giovanna. "Their newly developed PRISM for Law Enforcement SMS solution meets all of the PSAAC SMS requirements for the purpose of accreditation. We are looking forward to a long standing partnership with ARGUS in our efforts to make our industry safer."

SOURCE: Argus International

Arizona Sheriff's Helicopter Makes Hard Landing

PhotoA Cochise County (AZ) Sheriff's Office helicopter was forced to make a hard landing in mid-September. A department spokeswoman said the helicopter was surveying a controlled burn when an engine failure forced it to land on a nearby highway.

The highway was closed following the crash due to excessive debris from the airframe. The Cochise County Sheriff's Office said the aircrew was uninjured.


California Passes Drone Warrant Bill, Governor Vetoes

California officials approved a bill in mid-September that would make it illegal for police to use drones for surveillance without a court-issued warrant, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill by the end of the month. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems bill, introduced by Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, would have allowed police to use drones for fires, hostage crises, search and rescue, chases and other "emergency situations."

Photo"There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate," Brown said. "The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow."

Brown said the bill could have imposed standards on law enforcement beyond what is required by both the U.S. and California Constitutions. Under the measure, other public agencies would have been allowed to use drones, or contract for their use, to achieve their "core mission," so long as that mission was not to gather criminal intelligence. The law would have also required that data, video or photos collected from the drones be destroyed by public agencies within a year, except in certain cases.


Snohomish County Sheriff Helicopter Rescues Injured Climber

PhotoThe Snohomish County (WA) Sheriff's Office Helicopter Rescue Team rescued a fallen climber who sustained life-threatening injuries in early September. Witnesses said they called 911 when they saw the victim fall 50 feet at 6,400 feet above sea level.

While cloud cover prevented a daylight helicopter hoist rescue, the team inserted a rescuer at 3,500 feet to climb to the scene of the accident. That evening after the clouds cleared, the Helicopter Rescue Team was able to conduct a hoist rescue under NVGs and transport the subject to a nearby hospital. He was found to have a skull fracture and other life threatening injuries. Watch video of the rescue here:


Royal Thai Police Receives SAR-Configured Helicopter

PhotoThe Royal Thai Police (RTP) received the first of two Airbus Helicopters AS365 N3+s in a ceremony held Sept. 23 at the Thai Police Aviation Division. Configured for search and rescue missions, the AS365 N3+ is outfitted with an electrical hoist, rappelling installation, cargo sling, searchlights and more.

"This new acquisition is part of RTP's modernization program to reinforce our capability to protect and serve the people," an RTP spokesperson said. "This helicopter will be particularly useful in rescue activities, as well as in supporting our traditional police missions such as border protection, anti-smuggling and anti-terrorism."

RTP's fleet currently consists of five EC155s that have been in operation since 2009 as Royal transport aircraft. To boost SAR capabilities, RTP placed an order for two AS365 N3+s in 2012 and 2013. The second aircraft is due to be delivered in mid-2015.


Grand Forks Captures Suspects in First UAS Night Flight

PhotoDuring the first-ever deployment of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at night, the Grand Forks (ND) Sheriff's Department apprehended four suspects following a traffic stop and foot chase in late September. Officials believe the night flight was the first of its kind in the country.

Grand Forks' Qube UAS was launched when four occupants of a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation fled the vehicle and a police dog was unable to find them. The UAS located one of the suspects in a cornfield, but the perpetrator escaped before deputies arrived at the location. A second flight revealed the location of another suspect.

The UAS flights eventually led to the arrest of two 20-year-old men who were taken into custody and face charges of reckless driving, minor in consumption, refusing to halt and driving under the influence. A third suspect faces charges of refusing to halt, a Sheriff's Office news release said, and a fourth suspect's identity was not released because of that person's involvement in an ongoing investigation.


California Man Charged With Lasing Police Helicopter

PhotoA federal grand jury indicted an Oakland man in late August for aiming a green laser pointer at a police helicopter. On June 7, the 18-year-old was arrested for pointing the laser at a California Highway Patrol (CHP) aircraft that was helping police search for a suspect. The chopper was struck at least seven times by the pointer, according to a CHP spokesman. After the aircrew helped ground units quickly locate the suspect, officers recovered the laser pointer and took the man into custody.

The TFO said the laser pointer reflected off the interior of the helicopter and created an extremely bright beam, interfering with the crew's ability to assist in the ground search. According to reports, the TFO was able to locate the source of the beam because of his experience with similar incidents in the past.


Riverside County Sheriff's Helicopter Crashes During Training Exercise

PhotoA Riverside County (CA) Sheriff's Office helicopter crashed in late August. While the aircraft was largely destroyed, the two-person crew walked away from the incident without injury.

The mishap reportedly occurred during a training exercise in which the aircraft was flying low over a runway. An agency spokesman said the pilot was "practicing landing with a simulated engine power outage" when the incident occurred. FAA is currently investigating the accident.


NYPD Helicopter Rescues Man in Cardiac Arrest

PhotoCrewmembers aboard NYPD Air Sea Rescue Helicopter 22 rescued a man suffering from chest pains onboard an offshore barge in early September. The U.S. Coast Guard contacted NYPD after receiving calls about the man. The barge was about 1.63 miles off the coast of New York at the time.

Once on-scene, the NYPD helicopter, crewed by pilot Detective Erin Egan, co-pilot Detective Christopher Maher, Scuba Unit Detective John Mortimer, Scuba Unit Detective Brian Mullen, and Crew Chief Detective Tom Diaz, hovered above the barge while a rescue basket and Mortimer were lowered to the man. Mortimer reportedly performed CPR on the man as he was hoisted onto the helicopter and taken to a nearby hospital. The man was listed in critical but stable condition soon after he arrived at the hospital.

See video of the rescue here:


PhotoDid You Know?

Did you know that APSA participates in conferences other than our own annual event and safety seminars? That's right, APSA staff and board members regularly represent you and the Association at conferences conducted by the Helicopter Association International (HAI), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), and the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). These APSA representatives participate in presentations, workshops, and committee meetings, promoting the Association and the airborne public safety industry while ensuring your collective voice is heard on matters that affect or could potentially impact your operations. In addition, APSA maintains a presence at the majority of these conferences through a booth in the exhibit hall staffed by these representatives. It's all part of the networking, advocacy, and educational program components of our mission to support, promote and advance the safe and effective utilization of aircraft by governmental agencies in support of public safety missions.

Next up is IACP 2014 in Orlando, October 25-28. Stop by the APSA booth, #1992, and visit with APSA Executive Director/CEO Dan Schwarzbach, Vice President Kevin Caffery, Safety Program Manager Bryan Smith, and the other APSA staffers who will be in attendance. If you don't currently have plans to attend but would like to, IACP offers a complimentary expo hall-only pass to public safety personnel. Credentials are required and IACP reserves the right to refuse ineligible registrations. For more info, visit

Tampa Man Aimed Laser at Airplanes, Police Helicopter

PhotoTampa International Airport was forced to change the landing and departure routes of commercial jetliners on Sept. 7 after a man aimed a laser at four airplanes and a Tampa (FL) Police Department helicopter. The man was charged with misuse of a laser lighting device, a third-degree felony, and released after posting $2,000 bail.

Tampa Police helicopter, crewed by a pilot and TFO, were on routine patrol when they were alerted commercial airline pilots were being targeted by a laser. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies said they found the man outside his apartment complex and arrested him without incident. He was accused of pointing laser beams at overhead aircraft and targeting the Tampa Police helicopter with the laser four times within a four-minute period. Deputies said the man claimed he was pulling a prank and not trying to interfere with aircraft.


AgustaWestland Philadelphia Delivers 200th AW139

PhotoAgustaWestland announced last month the company's Philadelphia assembly line has built and delivered its 200th AW139 helicopter, featuring a firefighting configuration for delivery to Mitsui Bussan Aerospace and the City of Yokohama, Japan. The AW139, a commonly used platform by law enforcement agencies, has been assembled in Philadelphia since December 2006, with production at the site progressing towards nearly 40 deliveries per year.

AgustaWestland said more than 210 customers in over 70 nations to date have placed orders for nearly 800 AW139s. The global fleet recently achieved 1 million flight hours in service worldwide.

SOURCE: AgustaWestland

CHP Helicopter Crew Rescues Man Injured In ATV Accident

PhotoA California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter crew rescued a 63-year-old man who was injured in an all-terrain vehicle crash on Sept. 21. The man reportedly lost control of his ATV and was ejected on a trail in steep terrain. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered a large laceration to his head, and complained of head and neck pain.

A CHP aircrew responded to the call and hoisted the injured man from the rugged terrain. He was flown to a nearby field and airlifted to a trauma center. CHP officials said it would have taken hours to remove the injured man from the steep trail without the helicopter.


NYPD Has Second Near-Miss With UAS

PhotoAn NYPD helicopter had a near-miss with an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on Sept. 17 as the crew searched for a missing boy in Brooklyn. It was the second near-miss between an NYPD helicopter and a UAS in the past three months.

On July 8, two men were arrested after allegedly flying UAS that nearly took out another NYPD chopper. This time, a 34-year-old was arrested for illegally operating a remote-controlled DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter equipped with a GoPro camera.

"These drones pose a safety threat to aircraft and the people onboard because the pilots do not know they are in their flight pattern," a law enforcement source said. The man was charged with reckless endangerment and obstructing governmental administration and later released on $1,500 bail. He denied that flying his UAS was against the law.


PhotoUAS Finds Lost Hikers in Canada

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Nova Scotia used an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) equipped with a surveillance camera to find a family lost in a wilderness area in early September. A couple and their 17-year-old daughter were reportedly disoriented after setting out on a hike and called police for help on a cellphone. RCMP sent a UAS unit to the area, and the three victims were soon spotted using the aircraft's camera.

A number of police forces in Canada operate UAS for searches and to document and map vehicle accident scenes. Transport Canada allows the use of UAS for law enforcement and a variety of commercial applications through a special flight operation certificate. Applicants must demonstrate they know aviation regulations and that their use of the UAS won't be a hazard.


PhotoMissouri Man Indicted for Laser Strike

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a 24-year-old Kansas City, MO, man was indicted by a federal grand jury for aiming a laser pointer at a Kansas City Police Department helicopter on Oct. 8, 2013. Dickinson said the charge contained in the indictment is not evidence of guilt, and evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury. The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Casey.


APSA Welcomes Its Newest Members


Glenn Andruschuk, Calgary Police Service Air Support
Patrick Antoine, Independent
Terry Ashe, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Rudy Barillas, Los Angeles (CA) Police Department Air Support
Nick Batson, Jackson (TN) Police Department
Nate Bohanek, Spokane County (WA) Sheriff Air Support
Chad Dollick, San Diego (CA) Sheriff's Department
William Farr, Metropolitan Police Department Washington DC
David Galm, Beaufort County (SC) Sheriff's Office
Brian Gentry, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Bradley Grange, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Devin Graw, Calgary Police Service Air Support
Charles Guess, New York State Police Aviation Unit
Kristopher Gunter, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Matt Hill, Calgary Police Service Air Support
Clay Hilton, Spokane County (WA) Sheriff Air Support
Charles Ings, DeKalb County (GA) Police Department Aerial Support Unit
Bradley Isaacs, Gwinnett County (GA) Police Department Aviation Unit
John Kaikkonen, Washington Department of Natural Resources
Jeffrey Kelly, Maryland State Police
Lawrence Koren, Koren Aviation & Services
Chris Lander, Surf Lifesaving Queensland
Marc Leroux, Howard County (MD) Police Department Special 
Operations Bureau / Aviation Unit
Edward Luarca, Independent
Michael McCormick, Durham (Ontario) Regional Police Service
Stephen Meer, Boulder County (CO) Sheriff's Office
Charles Moggia, San Jose (CA) Police Department
Russell Prats, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Pete Quartarolo, Sonoma County (CA) Sheriff's Department Helicopter Unit
Nicholas Rothemich, Los Angeles (CA) Police Department Air Support
Allison Schloss, Chicago (IL) Police Department
Chris Shepherd, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Erik Snelgrove, San Diego (CA) Police Department Air Support
Jason Snyder, Spokane County (WA) Sheriff Air Support
Jason Tarbox, Tampa (FL) Police Department Aviation Unit
Sean Thistle, Maryland State Police - Aviation Command
Rick VanLeuven, Spokane County (WA) Sheriff Air Support Unit
Daniel Veasey, DeKalb County (GA) Police Department Aerial Support Unit
George Wilkinson, Independent
Kevin Yancey, State of Alaska Department of Public Safety


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