eNewsletter - February 2013


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.

Erie County (NY) Helicopter Helps Firefighters Stop Sneaky Blaze

PhotoAir One, a helicopter operated by the Erie County (NY) Sheriff's Department Aviation Unit, assisted Buffalo firefighters in putting out a three-alarm fire in a massive North Buffalo structure that once housed an aircraft factory on Jan. 18. After firefighters thought they had extinguished the fire, the crew aboard Air One detected additional hot spots using a thermal imager.

“We thought the fire was out, but there are hidden spots in the building with brick-walled partitions and compartments and the fire had traveled through the ceiling along a catwalk,” Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield Jr. said. “It's impossible for us to get a complete visual on a building of this size, and that is why we called in Air One.” At the height of the fire, about 70 firefighters were on-scene.

SOURCE: www.buffalonews.com

Man Charged for Laser Strike That Injured Three Police Pilots

PhotoThe 33-year-old man who sent three Suffolk County (NY) Police Department Aviation Bureau pilots to the emergency room last August with laser strike injuries was charged for his crimes in late January. The man was released on a $10,000 bond on Jan. 23 and could face five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. The laser struck the police pilots while they were investigating a laser strike directed at a commercial flight while it was on final approach at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“Laser pointers aimed at aircraft pose many dangers, including disrupting the vision of pilots,” said United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch. “Last February, President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which specifically prohibited the conduct alleged in the complaint. The safety of American air travelers has been and will continue to be a priority for law enforcement.”

SOURCE: www.justice.gov

APSAC Takes Action on NTSB Safety Recommendations

PhotoNational Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman praised the action of the Airborne Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission in implementing multiple NTSB recommendations as a result of its investigation into the June 9, 2009 crash of a helicopter operated by the New Mexico State Police. The NTSB recommended rest standards to prevent pilot fatigue, training in encountering instrument meteorological conditions and encouraged the installation of flight-tracking equipment and 406-megahertz emergency locator transmitters on their aircraft.

“The fact that the Airborne Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission implemented all of the NTSB's recommendations in just six months is to be highly commended,” Hersman said.

Dallas Laser Strike Videoed; Possible Federal Charges

PhotoA 22-year-old man who shone a laser beam at a Dallas (TX) Police Department helicopter was arrested after being caught on tape in late January. The man shined a green laser pointer several times at the Helicopter Unit's “Air 1” helicopter while the crew searched for a car burglary suspect.

A police report said the laser pointer's light “hit the Plexiglas wind screen on the front and sides of the helicopter cockpit” and “the light dispersed across the wind screen and obscured the vision” of the pilot. The pilot directed ground units to the suspect's location, where he was arrested after confessing to having and using the laser.

The FBI filed a complaint in Dallas federal court that says the man “did knowingly aim a laser pointer at an aircraft,” a federal crime that could land him up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The man appeared in court on Jan. 29 and said that he wanted “to see how far it would go”. The new law doesn't require proof of willfulness, federal authorities say; it merely requires proof that someone knowingly aimed a laser at an aircraft.

See the video of the laser strike here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sfZTutAHZKM.

Tim Childs of the Federal Air Marshal Service said in the FBI report that those who beam lasers at aircraft generally fit into two categories: minors with no criminal record or older men with a criminal history. The teens usually are curious or fall victim to peer pressure, while the men “simply have a reckless disregard for the safety of others,” Childs said.

SOURCE: www.dallasnews.com

Civil Aviation Authority Publishes Its 160 Approved UAS Users

PhotoPolice forces, defense firms and fire services are among more than 130 organizations currently flying small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in United Kingdom airspace, according to a list published by the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). CAA indicated three police forces, Merseyside, Staffordshire and Essex, have permission to use UAS, as do three fire services, Dorset, West Midlands and Hampshire. CAA had not previously published the list of organizations.

Including multiple or expired licenses, CAA has granted approval to fly small UAS more than 160 times. In the last two years, CAA has required anyone who wants to fly a small UAS in British airspace to apply for permission. The aircraft must weigh less than 20 kg, and operators must observe its stated rules, including not flying higher than 400 feet or further away from the operator than 500 meters (considered the pilot's line of sight).

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.uk

APSA Chosen for One of HAI's Salute to Excellence Awards

PhotoFor more than 50 years, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) has recognized the outstanding achievements and exceptional merits of individuals and organizations through the Salute to Excellence Awards program. The Airborne Public Safety Association has been chosen to receive the 2013 MD Helicopters Law Enforcement Award. The award recognizes an individual or organization that has contributed to the promotion and advancement of helicopters in support of law enforcement activities. HAI will formally recognize all winners of its 2013 Salute to Excellence Awards at a dinner on March 6, 2013, during HELI-EXPO 2013 in Las Vegas.


Police Helicopter Tracks Down Grocery Store Shooter

PhotoA helicopter operated by the Spokane (WA) County Sheriff's Office assisted in apprehending a man suspected of shooting two people in a local grocery store on New Year's Eve. After a witness called 911 just after 10:00 p.m. on Dec. 31 to report the incident, the department's Air One helicopter was dispatched to find the shooter. The aircrew found a 33-year-old man hiding along the Spokane River under a bridge and directed ground troops to the site. The man was booked into the Spokane County Jail on second-degree murder and first-degree assault charges.

SOURCE: www.krem.com


GSP Moves Into Two New Hangars

PhotoThe Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Aviation Division recently held grand opening ceremonies for two newly acquired field hangars, one at the Augusta Regional Bush Field Airport and the other at the Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville.

The new 10,000-square-foot Augusta hangar will provide more than 2,500 square feet for administrative offices, a living, dining and kitchen area, laundry facilities, storage areas and sleeping quarters for pilots and other GSP personnel as needed. The remaining hangar space will accommodate several aircraft and allow for future growth. The ramp area covers 12,000 square feet, enough space to park numerous aircraft as needed.

The 5,600-square-foot Gainesville hangar includes a three-level structure, providing approximately 3,500 square feet for administrative offices, a living, dining and kitchen area, laundry facility, storage area and sleeping quarters. The hangar will also provide adequate space to house multiple aircraft and allow for future expansion.

The GSP Aviation Division said it is “excited about the new hangars and is looking forward to continuing the high level of public safety and service to the residents of Georgia.”

SOURCE: GSP Aviation Division

Feature Added to Monthly E-Newsletter

PhotoStarting this month, APSA adds a “Did You Know?” feature to each month's E-Newsletter. Developed as a result of comments included in responses to the recent Membership Survey, this feature is designed to inform readers about the Association. If you have something you'd like to know, send your question to airbeat@PublicSafetyAviation.org.

First up, did you know that you can attend APSA regional safety seminars in other regions outside of the one in which you reside? APSA members are welcome to attend any or all of the six safety seminars offered by the Association each year with no registration fee regardless of how many you attend! So, expand your horizons and consider attending a safety seminar in a neighboring region; it might be closer to home than you think.

Orange County Sheriff Adds UAS Amid Legislative Battle

PhotoThe Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office has purchased two unmanned aerial systems (UAS) it expects to use in suspect apprehension and emergency situations. The purchase comes while the Florida state legislature is debating a bill that would allow the use of UAS for counterterrorism missions but would prevent police from using them to take pictures that would be used as evidence.

“They will have to be issued by and authorized—every time they're used—by the high-risk incident commander,” Orange County Sheriff's Office representative Jeff Williamson said in response to concerns about the aircraft. The Draganflyer UAS reportedly cost the sheriff's office $25,000 each. The unit is awaiting FAA authorization to employ the aircraft and hopes to have them operational by this summer.

SOURCE: www.wftv.com and Knights News

St. Louis Metro Air Unit Acquires New Helicopter

PhotoThe St. Louis (MO) County Metro Air Support Unit added an additional helicopter to its operations and held a dedication ceremony on January 23. The new MD 500E jet turbine helicopter is expected to enhance the unit's ability to perform search and rescue missions, increase patrols of the region's critical infrastructure and provide greater support to first responders. The aircraft is equipped with state-of-the-art computers and lighting to aid its mission objectives.

Funding for the new helicopter was provided for by the Department of Homeland Security-Port Security Grant Program and approved through the St. Louis Maritime Security Committee and the US Coast Guard-Sector Upper Mississippi River.

The new aircraft is the second helicopter acquired by the Metro Air Support Unit through grant funding, bringing the unit's total number of helicopters to four MD 500E models and two military surplus OH6A models.

SOURCE: www.ksdk.com

Louisiana Man Will Serve Jail Time for Shooting at Helicopter

PhotoA Louisiana man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for shooting at a Louisiana Army National Guard helicopter. The man was convicted in September on charges he fired at the helicopter while it was helping state and local law enforcement officers conduct a search of a suspected marijuana grow in August 2010. No one was injured in the shooting, and no bullet holes were found in the helicopter. Investigators recovered the semiautomatic handgun the shooter allegedly used.

SOURCE: www.sfgate.com


New York Sheriff's Office Adds Another Helicopter

PhotoThe Monroe County (NY) Sheriff's Office has added a second helicopter to its Aviation Unit. The 1969 OH6A military surplus aircraft will split duties with the unit's existing military airframe, known as Raptor.

The blue helicopter was acquired at no cost from the Kansas City Police Department. Officials said the aircraft is 1,000 pounds lighter than Raptor, obtained by the department in 2004, and uses 20 percent less fuel. It is 50 mph faster, reaching speeds of up to 170 mph, and is more efficient while hovering. The unit expects to use the new chopper during the day, while its existing helicopter, equipped with infrared cameras and other equipment, will be used at night. The unit does not expect its operating costs to increase, as flight hours are expected to decline.

The helicopter will be put into service immediately if needed, but new radio equipment will be installed and its Kansas City police stickers will be replaced. The unit expects the new aircraft to prolong the life of Raptor and reduce maintenance costs.

SOURCE: m.monroenews.com

APSA Adds Regional Scholarships; Award Nominations Open Now!

PhotoDuring their semi-annual meeting last month, the APSA Board of Directors unanimously agreed to increase the number of Regional Scholarships for the children of members from seven to twelve, resulting in two $2,500 APSA-sponsored scholarships for each region. Including the six scholarships sponsored by generous corporate members and the James Bland Memorial Fund, APSA now offers a total of 18 scholarships totaling $42,000.

APSA also presents six awards sponsored by corporate members annually. The awards recognize outstanding performance by association members. The winners of the awards epitomize APSA's motto, “to serve and protect from the air.”

Now is the time to nominate worthy individuals for an award and/or apply for a scholarship. APSA is accepting nominations and applications through May 1 and will announce the recipients on July 20 during the 43rd Annual Conference & Exposition in Orlando, FL. Please visit the Awards & Scholarships section of the APSA website (www.alea.org/areas/awards) for submission information.

Don't assume someone else is nominating more worthy individuals or that the volume of applications will negate your chances of winning. Take the time now to help APSA recognize excellence among its members and their families. Nominate or apply today!


PhotoNYPD Considers UAS to Monitor Crowds

Unmanned aerial systems may eventually be used by the New York Police Department for surveillance, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He said in mid-January that UAS could be used to monitor demonstrations and defended the use of UAS by saying they are widely used in law enforcement, especially along the border. He said the city is not actively pursuing a UAS program at this time, mentioning it as one of several new projects the nation's largest police force has in the works.

SOURCE: www.dnainfo.com

PhotoHelicopter Crew Rescues New Zealand Teen

A New Zealand Police Air Support helicopter rescued a 17-year-old from an estuary in Auckland in mid-January. The twin engine Aerospatiale AS355 F1 helicopter, commonly referred to as “Eagle,” responded to a call about a boy struggling in the water. Crewmembers said they could see the swimmer was in "serious difficulties and immediate danger" when they arrived on scene. Working with a maritime unit, Eagle lowered a rescue swimmer into the water and helped the teenager to the shore, where he was examined by EMTs from a nearby hospital. The boy did not require further medical treatment.

SOURCE: www.stuff.co.nz


California Sheriff's Office, Utah Highway Patrol Upgrade Audio Control Systems

PhotoThe Riverside County (CA) Sheriff's Department Aviation Bureau has upgraded to a digital audio control system in four of its helicopters and a fixed-wing surveillance platform, and the Utah Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety (DPS) Aero Bureau has ordered the same system for its newly ordered AS350 B3e multi-mission helicopter.

Riverside, among the fastest growing counties in the country, selected the Becker DVCS6100 digital airborne audio control panel system to upgrade its four Eurocopter AS350 choppers and Cessna 182P. The new system will replace the unit's older, legacy analog systems. It is expected to help the unit manage all its audio sources using one device and increase its ability to customize the system to its mission types.

The Utah DPS Aero Bureau's new AS350 B3e will be delivered with the DVCS6100 system installed in May. The new aircraft is one of the first of its type to be used by a law enforcement agency in the U.S. The aircraft joins two other AS30 B2 AStars in operation with Utah DPS. The unit said it chose the Becker DVCS6100 for its ability to effectively manage and control all audio sources in the aircraft.

According to the system manufacturer, digital technology provides simplified installation, improved performance, reduced wiring and weight, and reduced installation and maintenance costs when compared to legacy analog audio systems.

SOURCE: www.beckerusa.com

Canadian Teen Arrested for Shining Laser at Police Helicopter

PhotoA teenager near Toronto was arrested for shining a laser at a York Regional Police helicopter in early January. The pilot of the department's Air2 reported obstructed vision due to a laser just after midnight on Jan. 4. The helicopter was performing a search when the laser beam hit its windshield, illuminating the cockpit with red light. Protective eyewear helped the pilot avoid the light and determine it was coming from a car below. Police pulled over the vehicle and found a laser pointer. The 18-year-old male faces several charges, including mischief endangering life and obstructing police. The teenager will appear before the Ontario Youth Court Justice on Feb. 6.

According to Transport Canada, reports of aircraft being hit with lasers spiked dramatically in 2011 to 229, up from 183 in 2010. York police choppers experience laser strikes at least a few times a year, according to Insp. Angelo De Lorenzi. Under Canada's Aeronautics Act, pointing a laser at an aircraft cockpit is a federal offense carrying a maximum penalty of $100,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

SOURCE: www.thestar.com

PhotoEastern Region Members:
Safety Seminar Heading Your Way!

Don't miss APSA's Eastern Region Safety Seminar to be held March 26-28 in St. Louis, MO. Special accommodation rates are available at the Sheraton at Westport Place Hotel for $105 per night. The St. Louis Metro Air Support Unit will host the event. Register online atwww.alea.org/events/detail.aspx?i=134&p=1&d=03/27/2013, or contact Eastern Region Director Dan Cunningham at dcunningham@PublicSafetyAviation.org for more information.

Join APSA for Summer Fun: Annual Conference Coming in July

PhotoThink warm thoughts this winter and make your plans now to be in Orlando, FL, July 17-20 for APSA's 43rd Annual Conference & Exposition. As snow and ice sweep across the country, imagine yourself spending a week in the Sunshine State, and come early for our pre-conference courses July 15-17. All the information you'll need to plan your trip (and come up with a strategy for soaking up the best public safety aviation training available) will be on our website (www.APSA.org) soon.