Air Beat Magazine: September - October 2004


September - October 2004

After The Show
Airborne Law Enforcement Is A 
Profession Within A Profession

Crowded Airwaves?

Legal Eagle: Seeing Through 
The Walls of Supreme Court Logic

The Next Generation of Flight Gear

Plane Policing
How Texas DPS Integrates Aviation

Police Missions & Medevac
How The NJSP Aviation Bureau 
Has Grown To Do Both

The Tension In Rescue Hoist Technology

After The Show
Airborne Law Enforcement Is A 
Profession Within A Profession

With Charlotte, North Carolina as the backdrop to the 34th Annual APSA Conference & Exposition, hundreds of members, vendors and instructors were able to congregate for what’s considered the best event of the year for airborne law enforcement professionals.

Before the conference officially started on Thursday, there were many pre-conference educational courses covering a wide variety of topics from unit management and aircrew operations to thermal imaging and night vision training. These courses were designed to give participants an in-depth and real-world knowledge of specific topics from experts in the field.

One of the new courses this year was "Airborne Law Enforcement in Support of Homeland Security," which was co-taught by Israeli pilot Jacob Biran. He was the head of Israel’s National Police Aviation Department and is considered to have "written the book" on using helicopters in counter-terrorism actions. From his unique perspective, he explained the current situation in the Middle East and how American pilots can learn from the successes and failures in combating the threat of terror.

Consider these startling statistics. In 2003 alone, there were 625 people killed and 1,643 injured in terror attacks worldwide. During the last 10 years in Israel, there have been 130 incidents of suicide attacks carried out in malls, buses, railway stations, marketplaces, restaurants, clubs and schools. Biran warned that suicide bombers have no "red lines," meaning that no one is excluded from risk. The use of aviation and technology is playing an ever-increasing role in defense. 
Combining pre-conference courses and main conference classes, there were 50 educational sessions conducted. During the week, approximately 1,500 attendees and vendors enjoyed the hospitality of the city of Charlotte. "Having the APSA conference here has been good for our unit," said David Kale, Reserve Chief/Pilot of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department. "The department has benefited from and has gotten a better idea of what APSA is all about. It’s been real good for our community, as they have learned a lot about what we do with the local press coverage. It gives good public awareness."

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, Chief of Police Darrel Stephens and the CMPD Honor Guard welcomed everyone to the Annual Breakfast and Opening Ceremony sponsored by Agusta Aerospace. Detective Mary Crowell sang a riveting version of the National Anthem. After the meal, 
President Dan Schwarzbach greeted guests, attendees and board members at the ribbon cutting ceremony, signifying the official start of the main conference.

On display inside were aircraft from the Charlotte Convention Center were the U.S. Park Police, Dekalb County (GA) Sheriff’s Office, Memphis Police Department, Lee County (FL) Sheriff’s Office, and Maryland State Police. In the exhibit area, 140 companies showcased their goods and services exclusively for law enforcement aviation personnel. You could find information on airframes, parts, clothing, downlinks, thermal imaging, survival gear, simulators, training, software, surveillance, maintenance, insurance --- just about anything you could put on your work wish list.
"I’ve been here (APSA conferences) for 10 years and will always come back. This is always a good audience. It’s nice to see people you know already and to meet new friends. APSA has grown a lot," remarked Greg Yerkes of Life Support International. "The expo used to be like a tabletop show. Now, with the magazine, the website, the databases, and the conferences – it continues to grow. The speakers and classes are fantastic. You will very rarely go to a class and be disappointed. It’s always a good venue."

Larry Roberts, American Eurocopter Senior Director of Sales, commented that "it’s very important to recognize what airborne law enforcement does, not only for the helicopter industry, but for the country. Being able to be part of and work with an organization who represents the men and women of law enforcement that are so involved in homeland security is very important to us." Brenda Reuland went on to say that "attendance has been good. Having the aircraft and the two crews from Dekalb County and Memphis Police has been amazing. It’s been very upbeat."
To keep everyone informed of daily activities, special events and educational sessions, APSA produced three editions of Air Beat Today. (Copies can still be downloaded from "This is the second year we’ve produced the onsite daily newsletter, and it’s been a very big success. Vendors and attendees like to have the latest information on what they can do and see during the expo," said Martin L. Jackson, Air Beat Committee Chair.

When the exhibit hours and classes ended, there were plenty of ways to spend your time with colleagues. There was the Bell Helicopter sponsored Opening Reception with food, beverages and live music at Lowe’s Motor Speedway the first evening. On the track were helicopters owned by police agencies as well as NASCAR teams. Dave Oglesbee of Bell Helicopter remarked, "This gives us the opportunity to visit with customers, and we’ve met many new faces. It’s been great."
Co-sponsored by FLIR Systems, Heritage Aviation and Wulfsberg Electronics, the 27th Annual Pig Pickin’ was held the next night. FLIR Systems presented its 2004 Vision Awards, recognizing state and local law enforcement agencies for their contributions to public safety through the airborne use of thermal imagery and/or video in tactical airborne assistance. First place was awarded to the Tulsa Police Department’s Tim Smith (pilot) and Tim Ward (Tactical Flight Officer). The winning video featured the apprehension of four suspects who first fled in a vehicle and later on foot. The tape was used by their department to later locate the weapon used in several homicides.

Second place was awarded to Texas DPS Officer John Brannon (pilot) and Officer Matt Murphy (Tactical Flight Officer). Third place was awarded to the U.S. Border Patrol Pilots Justin Edmistion and Michael Allen. Winners receive FLIR jackets, a commemorative plaque, and a donation to the charitable organization of their choice. David Cruz said, "FLIR salutes all those who choose to serve and protect within the airborne law enforcement community and will continue the endeavor to support them with the highest quality product and services."

Everyone enjoyed the laughter and antics of Friday Nite Live, sponsored by American Eurocopter and Turbomeca USA. Three professional comics kept the crowd captivated with their unique sense of police humor.

The grand finale event was the Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday evening. The APSA Board of Directors welcomed special guests and the membership, brought together to recognize the year’s significant achievements of airborne law enforcement units and crews.

Sherry Hadley, APSA Executive Director, said, "I especially want to thank David Kale and the CMPD volunteers who did so much work in preparation for this conference. You know, everyone has fallen in love with the city of Charlotte, so they may get a few new residents."

"Attendance is up from last year. I would like to invite everyone to attend next year’s conference in Reno, Nevada and plan early. We’re going to have a wonderful slate of educational classes, and the hotel that we’re using is a wonderful property. The convention center is very new, and Reno has a small town feeling with lots of things to do."

2004 Award Winners

APSA Technical Specialist of the Year 
Sponsored by American Eurocopter 

San Bernardino County 
Sheriff’s Mechanics

Capt. "Gus" Crawford Memorial 
Air Crew of the Year
Sponsored by American Eurocopter 

USCG "Hitron" Crew: 
Craig Neubecker, Shawn Koch, William Greer

Robert L. Cormier Memorial Award
Sponsored by Bell Helicopter Textron

Chief Don Shinnamon, 
Police/Fire/Rescue-Holly Hill, FL

Scholarship Recipients

APSA Scholarships
($1,000 each to children of APSA Members on a regional basis.)

Eastern Region
Adam Rivett (Dale Rivett)

Northeast Region
Jessica Sarnataro (James Sarnataro)

Southeast Region
Leah N. Kearns (Thomas Kearns)

South Central Region
Jessica L. Rainey (Tim Rainey)

Western Region
Ryan Stancil (Dave Stancil)
Joseph Hermes (Pete Hermes)

ACRO Aerospace Scholarship
($1,500 to the child of a Technical Specialist)

Laci Jean Jackson (Cynthia Barrett)

American Eurocopter
A-Star Scholarships
($1,500 each to children of APSA members)

Lauren B. Phillips (William Phillips)
Robert B. Rhynsburger (R. Rhynsburger)

Norm Jacobson
Memorial Scholarships
Sponsored by MD Helicopters, Inc.
($1,500 each to children of APSA members)

Jarret T. Hedrick, (Bob Hedrick)
Caprice M. Walker (Matthew Walker)

"Powered Up" Scholarship

Leslie G. Miskulin (Donald Miskulin)

Crowded Airwaves?

By Raymond Foster
Los Angeles Police Department

Air to air communication is critical for safe aircraft operations. And, because of standards in training, equipment and frequency allocation, air to air communication is generally reliable. Air-to-ground communication, on the other hand, is not quite as reliable and can lead to serious problems during normal aircraft operations.

There are over 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States. For very practical reasons, each agency has its own radio frequency or frequencies. Moreover, each state and local agency is influenced by a political parent organization, such as a municipal police force, and is ultimately managed by a city. When making budgetary choices, organizations spend money for public safety-related technologies at vastly different rates. The combination of local choices and the need to have independent radio frequencies has created technological fragmentation in public safety.

Efforts to solve fragmentation are often focused on increasing interagency interoperability. Aviation is particularly susceptible to interoperability issues. For instance, a vehicle pursuit may cross jurisdictional lines, and aircrews may be forced to communicate with different agencies. One jurisdiction (like a state or country) may have aviation assets that a smaller agency within the larger jurisdiction may not.

A first step in understanding how and why communication systems may not be compatible is a brief explanation of the concept of frequency allocation. Recall that there are thousands of state and local law enforcement agencies who need radio frequencies (RF). In addition to the myriad of law enforcement agencies using RF communications, there are commercial, military and amateur users as well to name a few. Furthermore, practical radio frequencies are a finite resource. There are only so many frequencies that can be used for communications.

Further complicating the competition between users of the finite resource is the fact that radio frequencies have characteristics that define their usefulness. This means that when decisions about allocation are made, there are trades-offs. For instance, lower frequencies tend to go farther than higher frequencies. This means that higher frequency "channels" can be re-used by geographically distant agencies more often than lower frequencies. Think of driving across country – you leave home listening to your favorite radio station. Soon, your station fades, is replaced by static, ultimately disappears and then is slowly replaced by another radio station. Effectively, the frequency of your original station can be reused because it is distant enough from another broadcaster.

Many public safety organizations find themselves allocated to 800MHz (a relatively high frequency). This means they probably have more repeater antennas to obtain coverage over a large area. In addition to using 800MHz, newer RF configurations use digital technology. Driving across country, your commercial radio station was likely broadcasting an analog signal. A primary difference between analog and digital signals is how the signal’s reception reacts on distance. As you drove away from your commercial station, you heard increasing static and interference, but you could continue to understand the broadcast.

On the other hand, the usefulness of digital RF communications tends to suddenly drop off, not fade away. Think of it this way; with the fading commercial station, you are able to listen intently, filter the static and interference and probably infer some of what you miss – you know the lyrics to the song, so if a few words are garbled you continue singing along. With digital communications, voices and sounds are converted into the same binary code that computers use. At the point where interference causes enough of the ones and zeros to drop, the signal cannot be converted back into words. So, whereas analog signals tend to gradually decrease in usability, digital signals tend to cease all at once.

The characteristics of 800MHZ digital radio are not all negative. Indeed, many of them are quite beneficial. For instance, the distance factor has meant that more frequencies are open to use by public safety. Also, high frequency transmissions can have better building penetration than lower frequencies. However, the addition of more frequencies to law enforcement, and particularly aviation, is not necessarily a benefit. Having to keep track of scores of frequencies can be unsafe and counterproductive. In the past, if aviation assets arrived over the scene of an incident after the ground units, at least one of the ground units would have to switch to a frequency that the aircraft maintained. However, switching frequencies in the middle of a tactical operation or emergency is something that should be avoided.

When an 800 MHZ digital RF scheme is combined with a trunked radio system, both air and ground units are provided potential answers to communication problems. Even with the increased use of high frequencies, there are still only so many to be used. Let’s presume that a mid-sized municipal government is provided with 10 frequencies. In the past, they would have to divide these 10 between police, fire and other government services. If they provided police and fire with one uplink and one downlink each and one tactical each, they would have used 60 percent of their frequency allocation. However, anyone who has worked graveyard shifts knows that the air can be dead for long periods of time. Indeed, even during peak times there is a lot of dead space between transmissions.

A trunked radio system takes advantage of this space between transmissions by using Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA). As an analogy, let’s compare railroad and highway transportation. When frequencies are assigned for a specific group of users, it is like a railroad. A municipal agency with 10 frequencies has 10 tracks and only one train, or group of users, can be on a track. FDMA is much more like a highway, wherein each group of users is a like a bus and each frequency is a lane. The users who want to communicate with each other are on the same bus. As the bus drives down the highway, it can change to an open lane. The users are grouped together on the same bus and referred to as a talk group.

As the name implies, the frequencies are divided so that multiple users can access them. Although a medium size city might only have ten frequencies, if it is using FDMA technology, it can have many more "talk groups" that share the frequencies simultaneously. The reference to a "trunked system" goes back to the beginning days of telephone when an operator physically plugged cables into a panel in order to connect users. Now, a computer constantly tracks the communications of the various talk groups and the open frequencies. When one member of a talk group broadcasts (base, ground or air), the computer selects an open frequency and shifts all users to that frequency. This means that the computer is constantly in contact with all system users, coordinating frequency use.

The State of Delaware has approximately 1,982 square miles with about 850,000 residents. In addition to the state police, who provide primary, full-service policing, there are 29 local law enforcement agencies within the three counties that comprise Delaware. The state police provide aviation law enforcement, fire support and medical services to the entire state, and in some instances, surrounding states such as Pennsylvania and Maryland. During the mid 1990s, Delaware undertook a state-wide deployment of an 800MHZ trunked radio system. Eventually, the system would encompass all government services including the different police agencies, volunteer fire departments, hospitals and other emergency services.

For Delaware, the first task of the project was to develop the talk groups. Because it is a statewide, coordinated system, Delaware was able to designate different police, volunteer fire, hospital and other public entities as specific talk groups. Now, aircrews are provided a template which lists each of the different talk groups. Responding to public safety emergencies throughout the state, Delaware aircrews are able to punch in the number of the appropriate talk group and establish immediate communications. In addition, aircrews often respond to emergencies within one of the surrounding states. Some of those states have provided their FDMA talk groups to Delaware, and the aircraft radios are pre-programmed. Other states have decided (for technical reasons) to rely on radio communications patches via their central dispatch centers. However, pre-programmed talk groups can be a more reliable, quick way of establishing communications. 
Because the trunked system relies on repeating antennas, an aircraft that might normally be out of transmission range can now easily communicate with ground units because the signal for the talk group is passed along the system. In those instances when the aircraft is responding from a distant location, instant and reliable communications can be easily established.

With a trunked radio system, communication can be improved between all public safety entities and aircrews. Moreover, in large communications projects like the one in Delaware (and in other states such as Colorado), although agencies share the same infrastructure, each is able to communicate privately with its own personnel and with each other during emergencies.
Through the use of technology, limited RF resources can not only be multiplied by intra and interagency communications, they can be greatly enhanced. 

About the Author

Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster (LAPD, Retired) is the author of "Police Technology (Prentice Hall, July 2004)." He teaches at California State University, Fullerton and the Union Institute and University.

Legal Eagle: Seeing Through 
The Walls of Supreme Court Logic

By Cyndi Jo Means
San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

When our forefathers framed the United States Constitution and the Amendments to the Constitution (in particular, the Fourth Amendment), the Wright Brothers hadn’t even opened up their bike shop, let alone taken off at Kitty Hawk. So, it isn’t surprising that aerial surveillance technology used by airborne law enforcement was not contemplated, nor addressed, in those first constitutional documents.

Since then, not only have police missions taken to the skies, but science and technology have provided cops with incredible equipment to do their jobs better and more safely. Some of the tools of the trade include searchlights and gyro-stabilized binoculars for tracking and detailing suspects; thermal imagers (Forward Looking Infrared "FLIR"), used not only for finding hiding suspects, lost hikers and kids, but also for detecting heat anomalies associated with indoor marijuana grows; and night vision goggles (NVGs), providing a safer work environment during nighttime operations in rural, backcountry and mountainous areas.

With these developments and advancements through the years, the courts (and ultimately the United States Supreme Court) have had to interpret the Fourth Amendment as it pertains to airborne law enforcement and aerial surveillance technology, the ultimate question being: Do you need to get a search warrant before you use one of these new-fangled gizmos or not?
In 1967, the United States Supreme Court set a "two prong" test for determining whether law enforcement must obtain a warrant prior to searching. First, the suspect must have a subjective expectation of privacy -- does the suspect, himself, expect his activity or place to be private? Second, the expectation of privacy must be objectively reasonable. Regardless of what the suspect thinks, does the intrusion by law enforcement infringe upon any recognized personal or societal values protected by the Fourth Amendment? 1

Such protection is accorded not only to residences, but also to the "curtilage," which is the protected area around one’s residence, which can also be the setting of intimate activities associated with the sanctity of home and privacies of life. Curtilage is determined circumstantially, on a case-by-case basis, using factors that include proximity to house, steps taken to protect the area, and whether the area is commonly used for intimate activities associated with the home. 
On the other hand, no warrant is required for law enforcement to view or search "open fields," or areas which are not within the residence or curtilage. These areas are subject to "plain view" observation by law enforcement. Plain view is any observation made by law enforcement from an area or vantage point where they have a lawful right to be.

By 1986, air support units were entering the mainstream of law enforcement across the country. It was at this time that a need arose for the courts to develop rules to deal with law enforcement "searching" from the sky. In California V. Ciraolo, the United States Supreme Court determined that observations made by the police crew of a fixed-wing aircraft flying at 1,000 feet AGL were in plain view, as the aircraft was in navigable airspace in public airways, as determined by evidence and testimony relating to FAA regulations and civilian air traffic. The Court determined that the public would "expect" fixed-wing aircraft to be 1,000 feet or above, thus observations made at that altitude were not private. 2

Thus, the Court determined that the curtilage of a residence not only extends around it, it also extends "above" it.

In 1989, in Florida v. Riley, the Supreme Court upheld observations made from a police helicopter that was circling a suspect’s property at 400 feet AGL. The court determined that helicopter flights at 400 feet or above are made from navigable airspace in plain view, as the public expected considerable civilian use of the airspace at that altitude. 3

While it is probably safe to assume that police observations made during over flights at these altitudes will likely be upheld, these altitudes are not necessarily absolute, as expectation of privacy is always determined by the circumstances and facts of each case. 
Therefore, it would be arguable that observations from a flight lower than the above-reference altitudes could be upheld, assuming evidence was introduced explaining that the public had a different expectation of privacy.

Each new gadget that has come into the realm of airborne law enforcement has been analyzed, categorized, and ruled upon by the courts. Use of flashlight, spotlight and binoculars from the air has been upheld, so long as used at an accepted altitude. 4 Even use of an aerial mapping camera to surveil a business complex from a very high altitude has been permitted. 5

When the thermal imager came along, however, it threw the legal and judicial systems for a loop. Not that it was a problem for anyone when the device was used to fetter out crooks in canyons at night, or find little Johnny hugging a tree, lost in the woods. Rather, concerns were raised when the FLIR was pointed at buildings, particularly homes, and used in its capacity to detect heat anomalies associated with indoor marijuana grows, as emission and venting of heat caused by the bright and hot lights used to simulate the sun’s light and energy are detected by thermal imagers.
Of course, we know that FLIR does not see through walls. But, it came to be thought of as such and totally misunderstood due to exaggeration and misinformation, which wasn’t helped any by the mystique created by the media and Hollywood. (Remember the movie Blue Thunder? When police pilots hovered outside a building in their helicopter and were able, with an infrared camera, to see what the crooks were doing inside?).

The thermal imager merely detects heat energy in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, beyond red, in the visible light portion of the spectrum. Indeed, when directed at an un-curtained glass window, a FLIR reveals less than can be seen with the naked eye.

In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a thermal imaging case, Kyllo v. U.S. 6, that still affects the way law enforcement agencies are forced to use technology. Unfortunately, the ruling was highly unfavorable for all of us in law enforcement. Moreover, we also knew that it would be a long, long time before anything would come along to change it as the status quo.

Essentially, Kyllo held that warrantless use of FLIR on a residence violates the Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, it held that any sense-enhancing technology not in general public use violates the Fourth Amendment. The decision can be confusing, however, as it is decided upon, and applicable to, thermal imagers which are in the general public use (i.e. the Cadillac dashboard thermal imager; thermal imagers used by hunters, insulation companies, and power companies).
Nonetheless, this is the law: You must get a search warrant prior to doing a FLIR scan of a residence.

Since 2001, Kyllo has become the standard for expectation of privacy according to Fourth Amendment law, not only with regard to use of technology, but in connection with every privacy issue under the sun.

Considering this, how will Kyllo affect the law concerning technology already given the stamp of approval by the courts? And how will it affect law enforcement’s use of more recent technologies not yet considered?

As would be expected, in the years since its publication, Kyllo has been cited by defense attorneys to visit, revisit and attempt to overrule the court-sanctioned use of just about every technology available to law enforcement.

As of now, here’s where airborne law enforcement stands in cases recently decided by the courts around the country: 

FLIR Scans of Residences: 
Those which took place before the decision in Kyllo, but did not come before the court until after the decision, have generally been upheld by the courts on the basis of the "good faith" exception. 7 In other words, the exclusionary rule is used to punish deliberate and/or negligent Fourth Amendment violations by law enforcement by suppressing evidence. However, officers should not be punished for doing something that wasn’t yet against the rules at the time they did it. 8

FLIR Scans of Barns & Outbuildings:
Courts have held that no search warrant is necessary for a scan of a barn or "barn-like" structure if there is no evidence anyone lives there. Observations actually made from a suspect’s own pasture into a barn interior located 50 yards from the 
residence have been considered plain view observations from open fields. 9

FLIR Scan of Businesses & Industrial Complexes: 
Courts have held that a business doesn’t share the sanctity and privacy of the home. No case has reached the issue of whether a warrant is necessary. Cases have been decided based upon good faith or review and upholding of the warrant with FLIR information excised. 10

Use of an ordinary camera is still allowed, as the court has held that it is not "sense enhancing." Also allowed without warrant are video cameras, as the ruling court determined they have no "sense enhancing magnification," and no technology was applied to the video images in the particular case. That court left open the question of a hidden camera with greater ability than the human eye. A camera left in a room after law enforcement has left was held in violation of the Fourth Amendment, based upon Kyllo. 11

Cell Phones: 
Believe it or not, some defense attorney actually challenged use of a cell phone on Fourth Amendment grounds. However, the ruling court upheld their use by police inside a residence. The court found that an officer uses his own sense of hearing, the phone is not sense enhancing, and it’s in the general public use. 12

Night Vision Goggles: 
Courts considering the issue have held that the use of NVGs without a warrant is not an unreasonable search. The cases distinguish FLIR, which they say detects heat inside, from NVGs, which they say amplifies ambient light outside, thus, in their opinion, making NVGs less intrusive. Also, NVG-like technology is in general public use and sold in retail stores. 13

Dog Sniffs: 
Though defendants have also tried to do away with narcotics and bomb-sniffing dogs, the courts have continued to uphold these "searches" since Kyllo, stating that dogs noses aren’t sense enhancing technology; they don’t explore details otherwise hidden like the FLIR does; and they only reveal the presence of contraband, in which a criminal has no expectation of privacy. 14
The bottom line is, that the Kyllo Case, and quite a few since, consider the use of FLIR to scan a residence to be a de facto no-knock entry and search of a residence without a warrant, and without exigency.

So, in light of this, what about the "inadvertent" discovery by a tactical flight officer of a residence which appears, due to heat anomalies, to contain an indoor marijuana grow while out using surveillance technology for unrelated law enforcement purposes? Is he supposed to just ignore it?

Luckily, one post-Kyllo case, although not a FLIR case, shines a ray of hope in this direction. In ruling on the legality of contraband found while an officer was moving a suspect’s car for safe-keeping, the court stated that it’s not a "search" if law enforcement is not "looking for something." The court further said that "the greater the effort made, the more likely the purpose" was to intrude and invade privacy. They compared such inadvertent discoveries to a vehicle inventory search where contraband is found while securing the vehicle, not "searching," per se.

How this all eventually plays out, we will have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, the expectations of the public will be forever changing with regard to what technology can do, and what can be expected to be private. In light of this, what was in violation of the Fourth Amendment in the past may not be in the future. 15

Meanwhile, the one thing we know for sure is that it is completely safe to stand naked in the privacy of your own home while a police helicopter is overhead. They absolutely cannot see us through the walls. Trust them. They are the police.

Technology Cases Cited

(1) Katz v. U.S. (1967) 389 U.S. 347

(2) California v. Ciraolo (1986) 476 U.S. 207

(3) Florida v. Riley (1989) 488 U.S. 445

(4) Texas v. Brown (1983) 460 U.S. 730; 739-740; People v. Cooper (Ca.1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 499, 509

(5) Dow Chemical Co. v. U.S. (1986) 476 U.S. 227

(6) Kyllo v. U.S. (2001) 533 U.S. 27

(7) U.S. v. Leon (1984) 468 U.S. 897, 922; Arizona v. Evans (1995) 514 U.S. 1

(8) U. S. v. Allen N.D.N.Y. 2003) 289 F.Supp. 230; Cumming v. U.S. (D.Me. 2003) West Law (WL) 21524720; U.S. v. Holmes (D.Me. 2002) 183 F.Supp.2d 108; State v. Loranger (Wis. 2001) 640 N.W.2d 555; People v. Katz (Mich. 2001) Mich.App, Sept r, 2001; WL1012114; State v. Detroy (Hi. 2003) 72 P.3d 485

(9) U.S. v. Johnson (9th Cir. Ca. 2002) 42 Fed.Appx. 959; U.S. v. Hatfield (10th Cir. Okla. 2003) 33 F.3d 1189; People v. Keppler (Ca. 2003) __Cal.App.4th__; WL22475879

(10) U.S. v. Elkins (6th Cir. Tenn. 2002) 300 F.ed 638; State v. Mordowanea (Conn. 2002) 788 A.2d. 48

(11) Dean v. Duckworty (8th Cir. Mo. 2004) 99 Fed.Appx. 760; U.S. v. Lee (3rd Cir. N.j. 2004) 359 F.ed 194; U.S. v. Davis (2nd Cir. N.Y. 2003) 326 F.ed 361

(12) Com. V. Terry (Va. 2002) WL1163449

(13) Baldi v. Amadon (D.N.H. 2004) 2004 DNH 55; WL725618

(14) Texas cases: Smith v. State (2004) Tex.App. 1st. Dist. WL21339; Rodriguez v. State (2003) 106 S.W.3d 224; Wilson v. State (2002) 98 S.W.3d 265; Porter v. State (2002) 93 S.W.3d 342. State v. Miller (Wi. 2002) 647 N.W.2d 348; People v. Cox (Ill. 2002) 782 n.E.2d 275; State v. Rabb (Fla. 2004) 29 Fla. Weekly D1503; State v. Wiegand (Minn. 2002) 645 N.W.2d 125

(15) U.S. v. Maple (D.C. Cir. 2003) 334 F.3d 15

(16) .All references are to U.S. law. Meanwhile, the Canadians are also using FLIR and technology. Canadian cases have cited Kyllo, with some provinces allowing FLIR scans of residences without a warrant; some provinces requiring it. Canadians anticipate a resolution of the issue, by their Supreme Court, this fall.

The Next Generation of Flight Gear

By R.C. Shepherd
Forsyth County Police Dept.

Much of the equipment used in airborne law enforcement today originated from technology first introduced for military use. Examples include thermal imaging, night vision goggles, and even protective gear such as flight suits. A current United States Army program, known as Air Warrior, is now introducing the next generation of high technology aviation life support equipment, which means good things for the safety of airborne law enforcement agents.

Most aviation life support equipment in the past was developed and deployed in a layered and non-integrated manner. This resulted in gear that often encumbered aircrew and interfered with cockpit procedures. The purpose of the Air Warrior program is to improve the performance, survivability, and sustainment of personnel in high stress flight environments such as combat. To accomplish this task, the Air Warrior program has produced an all new flight crew ensemble that provides advanced life support features.

The new flight gear includes components integrated to maximize human performance and safe aircraft operation. The new ensemble introduces new gear as well as improvements to existing items. These ensemble components include an improved flight helmet, flight uniform, survival vest, computerized kneeboard, and other high tech items.

The advanced flight helmet is the model HGU-56/P. The helmet is constructed of a composite of graphite and Spectra™ and is twenty percent lighter than the previous SPH-4 series. It also features greatly improved impact resistance, retention, and sound attenuation. A valuable addition to the flight helmet system is the maxillofacial shield. This face shield provides crewmembers with protection from ballistic threats as well as flash fires. The face shield is engineered to be compatible with the helmet’s visor, boom microphone, and night vision goggles.

An improved two-piece aircrew uniform has also been introduced. The uniform is lightweight and offers an increased comfort level over the one piece and earlier two-piece suits. A blend of Nomex™ and Kevlar™ fabric provides the wearer with thermal protection from fire. The flight uniform is also compatible with the Microclimate Cooling System. The Microclimate Cooling System is a vest worn as an undergarment that pumps chilled water around the wearer’s torso. The cooling system enables crewmembers to function in hot environments without suffering heat stress.

The new Electronic Data Manager makes it extremely easy for pilots to access mission and navigation information. The Electronic Data Manager is a kneeboard computer with internal Global Positioning System features, moving map display and other programs. Using Windows™ based software, the unit provides the user with the ability to perform aircraft performance and weight and balance calculations. Other mission data such as communications information, schedules and weather observations can also be stored electronically.

For increased safety, an updated survival vest has also been fielded. This vest is known as the Aircrew Integrated Recovery Survival Armor Vest and Equipment or AIRSAVE for short. The vest integrates storage for survival gear, an extraction harness and body armor. Flotation and emergency breathing gear can also be added to the vest for over water flights. A full line of improved and added safety items has also been developed for carry in the vest.

The good news for airborne law enforcement is that most of these new equipment items, or close equivalents, are already available to them. Visitors to the recent APSA Conference and Exposition in Charlotte were able to see some of these items firsthand at vendor displays. Check with your APSA affiliate members for information on these high tech flight gear items.

Plane Policing
How Texas DPS Integrates Aviation

By Lt. Martin L. Jackson
Texas Department of Public Safety
Aircraft Section - Midland

The Texas Department of Public Safety currently operates a fleet of four Cessna 206 Stationairs, three Cessna 210 Centurions and one twin engine Turbo Commander 1000 fixed-wing aircraft. The airplanes supplement a fleet of eight helicopters. All airplanes are equipped with police radios, IFR GPS, gyro stabilized binoculars, and traffic avoidance equipment. Some are even equipped with thermal imagers.

These airplanes are based at seven air stations around Texas. The primary mission of the Department aircraft is to provide "safe aircraft and professional police pilots to support all divisions of the department and local law enforcement agencies." The Department has divisions in traffic law enforcement, commercial vehicle enforcement, narcotics, vehicle theft, Texas Rangers, and special crimes.

Although the airplanes and helicopters each have specific roles, many of these roles are interchangeable. Department airplanes are used in a variety of law enforcement missions. Aircraft are available to assist all divisions and personnel of the department, and they often assist allied agencies. Most of the missions involve criminal law enforcement. These missions include assisting narcotics on buy-bust sting operations, drug enforcement cases, and surveillance of suspects, vehicles, and buildings. The motor vehicle theft service utilizes the aircraft to search for stolen vehicles and equipment, and for surveillance. Other missions include photography flights, manhunts, undercover investigations, providing security, disaster reconnaissance, transportation of medical supplies, and aerial command post.

Though airplanes are primarily used in criminal law enforcement, they are now playing an ever increasing role in traffic enforcement as well. Ten years ago, the implementation of NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) allowed commercial truck traffic from Mexico into the United States. This, along with the natural rise in automobile traffic in the US, has led to more and more impatience and instances of "road rage" among Texas drivers.

In order to combat this increase in traffic volume, Texas DPS began utilizing fixed-wing aircraft to patrol areas of the interstate. Working with the Highway Patrol Division, task forces are now utilized in various locations throughout the state to target hazardous traffic violations. Pilots work with state troopers in a designated area to observe violations from the air and then notify ground units of vehicle description, type of violation, and related details. Aircraft then continue to follow the vehicle until a stop is made and the correct vehicle is identified.

The airplane is a very effective tool for enforcing the more hazardous violations, since most drivers will "drive friendly" (a Texas saying) when a marked unit is nearby. In addition, public reception of the airplane has been very positive. Public support has been especially good when drivers are informed of the mission, such as identifying hazardous drivers.

The single engine Cessnas are used mainly within local areas. The twin engine turbo commander is the vehicle of choice for long distance transport, which is especially important for criminal investigations, which are not restricted to Texas. Often, department investigators are required to travel to other states to conduct a criminal investigation. When called upon, the turbo Commander is used to transport officers anywhere the investigation may lead. In emergencies, a Commander can transport S.W.A.T. teams, K-9 units, crime laboratory personnel, and supplies.

A recent use of the Commander was to transport the famous "Railroad Killer," Rafael Resendez Ramirez. Ramirez had been on the run after committing numerous murders in various towns close to railroads. DPS Texas Rangers were eventually able to break the case and establish Ramirez as a suspect. Texas Rangers convinced him to surrender in El Paso. The aircraft section’s turbo commander was then used to transport Ramirez back to Houston from El Paso. In many cases like this, it is impractical to transport criminals on a commercial aircraft, so the DPS aircraft is called upon for the duty.

Competition in the aircraft section of the department is quite fierce. Pilots are selected solely from DPS officers who have been a trooper for at least four years. Applicants must have at least a private pilot’s license (airplane or helicopter) to apply. Obviously, the more ratings and experience one has the better. Applicants must pass a written test and oral interview. They are then placed on an eligibility list for a period of one year.

Once selected, a new pilot must obtain a commercial and instrument rating before being released to fly department aircraft. Pilots then go through a break-in period when they are restricted to daytime and specific weather minimums until they reach a certain experience level. Finally, all of the restrictions on the pilots are gradually removed. Many of the pilots are also ATP rated and are certified flight instructors.

The aircraft section’s primary goal is to maintain safety first. Second, the section strives to continue to expand both in aircraft and personnel as needed. The department is currently evaluating expansion in personnel and aircraft based on the needs of the State of Texas.

Police Missions & Medevac
How The NJSP Aviation Bureau Has Grown To Do Both

By Jon Goldin

When the Aviation Bureau of the New Jersey State Police was formed in 1969, there were three Enstrom helicopters in the fleet. Today, they fly seven helicopters --- four Sikorsky S-76s and three Bell Jet Rangers. Major changes are imminent for the agency's unit, including an increase in aircraft, personnel and equipment.

The NJSP Aviation Bureau consists of two separate operations: the police mission side of the house and the medevac side. In the beginning, the unit was strictly focused on police missions. However, the Aviation Bureau soon developed a medevac program that captured much of its attention. Today, in the post-September 11 world, the unit is shifting its focus back on police missions, making it a well balanced airborne law enforcement operation. Ambitious plans are now being considered to increase the unit's presence throughout the state with more regular patrol flights. The NJSP is in a position to follow through with these plans due to the new Homeland Security Branch of the unit. Most of the department's specialized units, including aviation, TEAMS (tactical), marine and bomb squad, fall under the newly created branch.

Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of NJSP, recognized the need to streamline the availability of these special units in a time of crisis. The expansion plan being worked on now would involve the creation of three medevac bases, with a patrol helicopter and crew also assigned to those locations.

The evaluation of the NJSP’s medevac operation is an interesting one. Finding the three original Enstrom helicopters insufficient for their needs, the unit upgraded to the Bell Jet Rangers in 1974 using a federal grant for speed enforcement. A Huey was also used for training with the TEAMS Unit from the late 1970s until 1983. During the mid-1980s, the New Jersey State Police looked into the feasibility of starting a dedicated medevac program that would cover the entire state, every hour of every day.

Once the details were worked out concerning the commitment by the state police, discussions began with several of New Jersey's trauma centers. They decided to staff the helicopters with civilian flight nurses and flight medics provided by the hospitals. Single engine light helicopters would not be adequate for this new mission, though, so the NJSP was forced to purchase twin-engine, dedicated medical ships.

After careful consideration, the Sikorsky S-76B was selected to fulfil this role. Chosen for its speed, payload, power and range, the New Jersey State Police would be the first law enforcement agency to operate this airframe, and one of the first operations to use an S-76 for medevac missions.

The first S-76 was ordered in 1987 for training and authorized transportation, and two more were ordered in 1990 for full time medevac use. While waiting for delivery of the medevac S-76s, the state police operated a Bell 222, formerly used to transport the governor, and a leased BO-105 to start the medevac program.

Currently, the headquarters for the Aviation Bureau is centrally located at Mercer County Airport, near the state capitol of Trenton. When the medevac program began, two bases were established, one in the north and one in the south; they became known as "Northstar" and "Southstar," respectively.

Northstar was based at University Hospital in Newark. In accordance with the agreement with the state police, the hospital built a rooftop hangar and helipad for the helicopter and supplied the medical crew.

Southstar found a home at West Jersey hospital in Voorhees. Just as with University Hospital and Northstar, the hospital built a pad and hangar and provided the medical crew. Oddly enough, however, West Jersey hospital is not a designated trauma center, and does not receive patients transported by Southstar. Patients are generally transported to one of eight level-one and level-two trauma centers within New Jersey. However, depending on the injury or location, they are sometimes flown into Pennsylvania or Delaware.

At the inception of the program in 1986, the medevacs were available 16 hours a day, seven days a week. In 1992, they went to a 24-hour, seven-day operation, as more pilots were brought into the program. Standard flight crews consisted of a state trooper pilot and copilot, along with a civilian flight nurse and flight medic. At the time, when an S-76 was down for maintenance, a Long Ranger would be used for medevacs.

Because of weight and room limitations, the backup Long Rangers were staffed with one pilot and one care provider. It should be noted that the original S-76 used for training and transportation was reconfigured to a full time back up ship for medevacs in 1993.

On average, the NJSP flies about 1,500 medevacs a year, with Southstar completing about 100 more than Northstar. About 75 percent of the calls are for trauma scene transports, the other 25 percent are inter-hospital transports. The medevac crews will launch on police missions if the Trenton base is not available, but they must break off if they receive a medical call.

After 12 years of successful operation with the three Sikorsky's, there was a need to add a fourth medevac to keep up with maintenance on the fleet. The money for a new helicopter wasn't in the budget, however, so a used S-76 in excellent condition was purchased. It was painted and outfitted with the same medical interior as the other three and went in service in July of 2002.

The Aviation Bureau of the NJSP currently employs 32 pilots that fly either police missions or medevac. Before a trooper pilot can begin transition training in the Sikorsky model, they must have a minimum of 1,000 hours and hold a commercial and instrument rating in the unit's 206s. Flight time is gained by flying law enforcement and training missions out of Trenton. The pilots are sent to Bell Factory Training School and FlightSafety International's S-76 simulator training annually. Police mission pilots assigned to Trenton work a 10- hour shift; medevac pilots are on a 12-hour shift.

Maintenance for all of the unit’s aircraft is performed at the Trenton base by 10 state employee technicians. Technicians are also sent annually for training at factory schools. Major inspections are done through Keystone Helicopter Corp. in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

The Sikorsky's are extremely sophisticated helicopters packed with high-end equipment in the cockpit and the main cabin. The glass cockpit has EFIS, TCAD and weather radar among its systems. Once it's airborne, the S-76 practically flies itself. The main cabin features a full advanced life support medical interior capable of accommodating two patients if needed. An SX-5 light is used during approaches to illuminate landing zones at night.

A significant advantage of the S-76 is the ability to shut one engine down while keeping the other at flight idle and disengaging the rotor system. This allows for safer operation on the ground in the helicopter’s vicinity, while loading the helicopter at a scene, as there is no need to shut the aircraft down and then restart it. This is all the more significant on the S-76 because the main rotor droops very low towards the front of the helicopter. The state police do not charge for medevac transport, but a patient is billed separately for services rendered by the medical crew.

Major changes are on the drawing board for the Aviation Bureau, thanks in part to the forward thinking of Colonel Fuentes, beginning with the relocation of its helicopters from hospitals to airports. In the summer of 2004, Northstar was moved to a new facility at Somerset Airport. This provides a better response time to scenes in the northwestern part of the coverage area. It also eliminates the necessity of flying to Newark Liberty International Airport for fuel.

As for Southstar, the majority of their calls during the summer months are along the Atlantic coastline of the state. Locations are currently being scouted at airports more centrally located in the southern portion of the state that would best suit their needs. Colonel Fuentes is seeking funding for the purchase of an additional used S-76 so they can open a third medevac base centrally.

Despite the importance of medevac missions to the NJSP, the units intends not only to maintain its commitment to police missions, but to heightened it in the near future. Realizing the important role helicopters play in homeland security now, the state is looking to add three new mission-equipped patrol helicopters to the fleet. The unit would like to see a patrol ship and crew based alongside each medevac helicopter and its crew. This would allow each of three State Police patrol troops to have a helicopter directly available to them and dramatically cut down on response times. It is also anticipated that more local police departments will call on the State Police for air support in the near future.

In addition to new helicopters, the Aviation Bureau is also in the process of purchasing new flight accessories. A Wescam MX-15 thermal imaging system with a video downlink is currently on order for installation on one of the Sikorsky's, along with a Nightsun 2 search light. A rappelling rack in another S-76 is being installed to enhance and refine intensive training with the TEAMS Unit.

Homeland Security patrol flights are currently high on the list of law enforcement priorities, and New Jersey has no shortage of bridges, tunnels, transportation hubs, and other sensitive locations. Anyone who has traveled along the New Jersey Turnpike has seen the oil refineries along the roadway, and any one of them is a potential target. Obviously, there will be a strong need for more pilots, in addition to the new helicopters and accessories, and the Aviation Bureau is actively looking among its ranks for troopers with flight experience to bolster staffing.

Helicopters play an important role in the post 9/11 world of law enforcement, which is why the New Jersey State Police is taking steps to improve its already sound aviation program.

The Tension In Rescue Hoist Technology

By David Markley
Goodrich Winch & Hoist

A few things to consider when deciding between level-wind and translating drum rescue hoists.
The events of September 11, 2001 forever changed the role of the helicopter in law enforcement. Part of that change involves the expanded role of the rescue hoist. As the demand for helicopter rescue hoists has increased, so has the need to understand the available technologies and what they represent. There are currently two rescue hoist technologies available—level-wind or translating drum. The terms level-wind and translating drum refer to the traditional cable management systems.

A level-wind system utilizes a guide block on the front of the hoist that moves both directions on a level-wind screw. This maintains consistent wraps as the drum turns. Tension between the pay out point and drum is maintained by the guide block. Rubber components inside the guide block are incompatible with lubrication, making the use of a dry cable mandatory.

A translating drum system also utilizes a level-wind screw which drives the drum back and fourth on a near frictionless ball spline to maintain consistent wraps. But unlike the level-wind system, the translating drum technology routes the cable through a single point pay-out. The cable is supported at the pay out point by four rollers that maintain tension back to the drum. The translating drum system utilizes a lubricated cable, which extends cable life and transfers oil to the drum, thus arresting corrosion.

Both technologies are obviously viable alternatives, but the traditional level-wind system presents some operational limitations that should be considered when selecting a hoist to meet mission requirements. The angle between the load and helicopter, often referred to as fleet angle, is limited on the level-wind hoist. Off angle lifts will significantly increase the side load on the level-wind mechanism, causing extra stress and creating the potential for a cable miss wrap. In contrast, the translating drum technology absorbs the side loads through the primary structure rather than a level-wind mechanism. The total torque on the translating mechanism never exceeds eight pounds regardless of fleet angle.

An additional consideration when choosing between the two technologies is continuous duty cycles. The cooling methodology on a level-wind hoist mechanism uses the same oil to cool both the mechanism and the motor. This will cause the motor to overheat when the hoist is being used continuously; thus it requires a cool down period. In contrast, while the translating drum mechanism is also cooled by oil, it is independent of the motor. This allows the hoist to be operated continuously without overheating the motor and eliminates the need for cool down periods.

System acquisition cost is yet another consideration. Initial acquisition costs are lower for the level-wind system, but total cost of ownership once the cost of spares and overhauls are taken into account can be higher. The translating drum hoist has a 10-year, or 111-hoisting hour, time before overhaul (TBO). Some level-wind hoists have a 10-year TBO, but most will require overhaul after five years. The total cost of doing two overhauls on a level-wind hoist to one on a translating drum eventually makes the total cost of ownership higher for the level-wind hoist. Additionally, corrosion issues avoided on the translating drum design, because of the oil soaked cable, may cause the price of overhaul on the level-wind hoist to be higher.

None of these points are meant to say that a translating drum is good and level-wind is bad. On the contrary, both technologies have their place and are viable options. The intent of this article was simply to provide a basis of comparison for those considering the addition of a hoist to their helicopter. Another, and perhaps one of the best sources of information on rescue hoists are existing operators, especially organizations like the United States Coast Guard that use both technologies. In any case, don't just buy a helicopter with a hoist on it. Ask the questions, get the answers, and select a hoist that will best fulfill your mission requirements.