eNewsletter - October 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.

U.S. Park Police Assists in Navy Yard Shooting Rescue in Wake of 40th Anniversary Celebration

PhotoTMembers of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) Aviation Unit helicopter crew were sent to the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16 to lift a shooting victim out of harm's way. The crewmembers performed the dangerous mission while rain was pouring down and a gunman was on the loose. The rescue occurred just days after the department celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Aviation Unit.

In the wake of the Navy Yard shooting, USPP helicopter Eagle 1 arrived on the scene and removed a woman wounded in the shoulder from the roof of Building 197 while police on the ground searched for the shooter inside. After the crew hoisted the wounded woman into Eagle 1, they flew her to a nearby hospital for treatment.

photoIn optimal conditions, the crew had an estimated five minutes of hover time, but in an active shooter situation, the helicopter could become a target. "Active shooter was definitely part of our thought process," said Sergeant Ken Burchell, the pilot in command. "We were well aware that we were a big, fat, blue and white target."

In addition to performing the rooftop rescue, USPP personnel flew helicopter Eagle 3 in support missions, patrolling the skies over the Navy Yard and helping police on the ground with command and control. Eagle 1 also returned to the scene to rescue the three men who had carried the wounded woman to the roof.

On Sept. 13, the U.S. Park Police Aviation Unit held a ceremony to honor some of its distinguished officers and recognize past and present members. Members of the Airborne Public Safety Association were on hand to help celebrate the historic aviation division.

SOURCE: www.nbcwashington.com and APSA

Trooper Cleared in Fatal Shooting From Helicopter

PhotoA grand jury declined to indict a Texas trooper in mid-September who fired from a helicopter at a fleeing pickup truck along the U.S.-Mexico border, killing two Guatemalan immigrants. Trooper Miguel Avila of the Texas Department of Public Safety deployed the weapon in the October 2012 incident.

DPS said Avila believed drugs were in the truck's bed when he fired. He was attempting to disable the vehicle because it was headed toward a school zone, according to DPS.

DPS revised its policies in February to prohibit shooting from the sky unless the aircraft is fired upon. A suspect driving aggressively or recklessly does not constitute use of a deadly weapon, the new policy states.

The incident began with a chase after Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens spotted a red pickup about 250 miles south of San Antonio. The wardens requested help, and the DPS helicopter joined in the pursuit of what authorities said they believed was a "typical covered drug load."

SOURCE: www.abcnews.go.com

Helicopters Integral in Colorado Rescue Efforts

PhotoIn the wake of weeks of record-breaking rains that caused dangerous flooding in Colorado in mid-September, Larimer County Sheriff's Office personnel said the assistance of 16 helicopters was critical to the rescue effort. Unfortunately, continued rains made it difficult at times to operate the aircraft.

The storms left at least six people dead or presumed dead, and more than 800 people were listed as "unaccounted for" in Larimer and Boulder Counties, the authorities said. Officials said at the time they hoped most of the missing were simply unable to contact friends or family.

Breaks in the rains brought dramatic scenes of rescue as Chinook helicopters airlifted hundreds of residents from campgrounds, homes and destroyed mountain settlements. One mission rescued 85 children and 14 adults who had been trapped while attending an outdoor education camp.

SOURCE: www.nytimes.com

PhotoFormer Air Beat Editor Will Be Missed

It is with sadness that we announce that former APSA Board Member and Air Beat Editor, and long-time contributor BJ Starr passed away on Friday, October 4th following a lengthy illness. More information will be published in an upcoming issue of Air Beat.

Mike Atwood Receives NIGHTCON Lifetime Achievement Award

PhotoAviation Specialties Unlimited CEO Mike Atwood was given the NIGHTCON Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual NIGHTCON convention in Dallas, TX, on Sept. 18. Numerous members of the Night Vision Advisory Council (NVAC) nominated Atwood for his contributions to the development and advancement of night vision goggle use in civil operations.

"Mike truly has pioneered the use of NVGs in the civilian world, not only in North America, but also throughout the world," Aviation Specialties Unlimited President Jim Winkel said. "It was great to see that Mike was recognized for his role in advancing the safety of night vision operations by a group of leaders and experts from our industry. He deserves to be recognized for all he has done."

Helicopter Association International President and CEO Matthew Zuccaro also recognized Atwood for his achievements in a letter he sent to NIGHTCON. "Your consistent and tireless efforts in the development and implementation of night vision technology within the helicopter community have directly resulted in enhanced safety, operational efficiency, and most importantly, the saving of lives," Zuccaro said. "HAI extends our congratulations as you are appropriately recognized by your peers and a grateful industry."

SOURCE: Night Flight Concepts

New York State Choppers Help Bust Marijuana Growers

PhotoThe Washington County (NY) Sheriff's Department, with the help of two helicopters from the New York State Police Aviation Unit and Vermont National Guard Counter Drug Aviation Unit, removed and destroyed approximately 3,000 marijuana plants in late August. The count represented about a third of the plants discovered last year. Five alleged growers were arrested and charged.

In late September, the New York State Police Aviation Unit assisted in the arrest of a single grower cultivating marijuana crops in a wooded area by his property. Police were alerted a man in Saugerties, NY, was shooting deer that were eating his marijuana crop, and the aviation unit was called in to perform aerial surveillance.

The surveillance was used to obtain a search warrant of the man's property, from which officers discovered and seized 68 potted marijuana plants. Police said they also discovered the man had been butchering, packaging and storing untagged, unlabeled deer meat, violating state environmental conservation law. The man was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, growing cannabis without a license, and possessing untagged venison.

SOURCE: www.recordonline.com and manchesternewspapers.com

Austin Police Department Adds New Multi-Mission Aircraft

PhotoThe Austin (TX) Police Department Air Support Unit added a third helicopter to its fleet in mid-September. Metro Aviation completed the new $3.75 million Eurocopter AS350 B3e at its completion facility in Shreveport, LA. The single engine aircraft is outfitted with an infrared thermal imaging system, gyro-stabilized binoculars, multiple channel police radio and Spectrolab SX-16 Nightsun. The aircraft will also be used to fight fires with a Bambi Bucket the department purchased.

"We had a great collaboration with Metro Aviation completing our most recent helicopter purchase, and we are very happy with the result," Austin Police Department Air Support Unit Sergeant Ben Dranguet said. "This project is the culmination of Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo's vision to bring front-line, multi-mission, public safety aircraft to central Texas, providing direct support to the Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County EMS."

SOURCE: Metro Aviation

Scholarship Fund Honors Downed Atlanta Aviation Officer

PhotoOne of the Atlanta police officers who died last year while searching for a lost child was honored in early September with a charity event intended to raise money for a scholarship fund. Officer Richard J. Halford was flying over the streets of Atlanta when his police helicopter collided with power lines, and both he and his co-pilot, Shawn Smiley, died in the crash.

The Atlanta chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen helped sponsor the event, a golf tournament, to raise scholarship funds for Atlanta officers to receive aviation training. Halford's cousin Charonda Huff helped to organize the tournament. She said Halford would be humbled to see the large turnout at the event bearing his name.

SOURCE: www.wtvm.com

Did You Know?

PhotoDid you know that in the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the government entity responsible for regulating the manufacturers of laser products? The FDA has the responsibility to determine whether or not laser products are compliant with laser safety standards, and can work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to restrict and/or reject shipments of illegal laser products into the U.S. As you are aware, targeting aircraft with lasers can result in visual impairment of the flight crew, which affects flight safety.

In collaboration with the FDA, APSA has created an internet-based laser incident reporting tool with the goal of collecting data on incidents with detailed incident information. This information, with photographs (if available and including a picture of the label if there is one), will be collected by APSA members and others from the law enforcement and emergency response community. The information will be shared with the FDA, which will use the incident data to aid in its enforcement of existing laser safety standards and to determine how often incidents occur, where they occur, and if known, which products are involved in these incidents. The goal is that stronger data collection will result in stronger enforcement of laser safety standards, or changes in existing standards, which will eventually result in fewer incidents.

APSA strongly encourages you to participate in this effort by working with your ground units to gather the necessary information when lasers are confiscated after their illicit use, and then submitting this information through our website www.alea.org/areas/laserincidents/.

Cleveland Police Bans Firing at or From Moving Vehicles

PhotoThe Cleveland Police Department banned its officers from shooting at or from a moving vehicle, including aircraft, in late August as part of a review of the department's use-of-force policies. "We're just trying to do the right thing," Police Chief Michael McGrath said during a press conference.

The decision comes in the wake of a November 2012 pursuit by the department that ended in the fatal shooting of two unarmed suspects. McGrath said the decision was unrelated to the incident. McGrath said officers would only be allowed to fire from or at a vehicle if deadly force were being used against the police officer or another person present by means other than the vehicle itself.

"If you have a vehicle that is refusing to stop, that is not justification for firing at that vehicle, period," he said. Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeff Follmer disagreed with the decision, saying a vehicle can be used in an act of deadly force, and patrolmen should be able to use deadly force to stop it. The order is similar to ones recently enacted in cities like Philadelphia, Miami and New York City.

SOURCE: www.officer.com

Edmonton Police Warns Public About Laser Use

PhotoWhen a laser hits an aircraft, it's like a firework has gone off in the cockpit, according to Tom Bechthold, an Edmonton Police Service Flight Operations Unit tactical flight officer. He said laser incidents have increased in Edmonton, and the department publically warned citizens about their dangers in early September.

The department made the announcement in the wake of two incidents that occurred within several days. On Sept. 6, a laser from a house below repeatedly hit Edmonton's Air-1 helicopter during a routine patrol. A 17-year-old male and 15-year-old female were arrested. Charges are pending. Then, on Sept. 7, the helicopter was hit again for several minutes while patrolling a different area of the city. Three men were arrested and each faces several charges, including assault with a weapon, possession of an offensive weapon, endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight and creating a hazard to aviation safety.

The department emphasized the attacks pose a threat to the flight crew and the public because they impede a pilot's vision and may cause temporary blindness or permanent damage if protective eyewear is not used. To see a police video of the Sept. 7 incident, go tohttp://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/edmonton/Video+Three+face+charges+af.

SOURCE: www.edmontonjournal.com

Fontana Police Buys New Helicopter, Hosts Training Event

PhotoMore than a dozen aircrews flew helicopters into San Bernardino's San Manuel Stadium on Sept. 19 for the Fontana (CA) Police Department's first regional fly-in training for law enforcement air support teams. During the event, Fontana police presented a check to Robinson Helicopter for the purchase of the department's third helicopter.

Fontana started its own air support team a year and a half ago after years of using helicopter coverage from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and private contractors. The department expects to begin using its new $900,000 aircraft early next year. The helicopter is expected to cost about $1.2 million once all of its equipment is installed. The department said it is using asset-seizure funds to purchase and equip the helicopter.

For the Sept. 19 training event, helicopter crews from Los Angeles, El Monte, Hawthorne, Riverside, Ontario, Pomona and Pasadena police, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol, flew in. Robinson Helicopter Co. had a chopper on hand for the event, and Fontana police parked its two existing helicopters in the stadium.

Fontana police Lieutenant James Escarpe said it's important for flight personnel to stay on top of training. Los Angeles Police Officer Jack Schonely, a nationally renowned law enforcement aviation trainer, led the event. He discussed crew resource management, pursuit and containment techniques, and new technology.

SOURCE: www.sbsun.com

Maryland State Trooper Airlifted by Aviation Division After Pursuit

PhotoMaryland State Trooper Sergeant Scott Rice got some assistance from the department's Aviation Command after his cruiser was repeatedly rammed during a suspect pursuit on Sept. 11. During the incident, Rice sustained injuries that necessitated transport by the Maryland State Police Aviation Command to a nearby shock trauma center for treatment. He was released in stable condition later that day.

The 32-year-old man who injured Rice had a history of traffic offenses and led police on a three-county interstate pursuit after failing to stop for a trooper in Howard County. Maryland State Trooper Sergeant Marc Black said the suspect drove into Carroll County and struck several cars, before moving into Frederick County and ramming Rice's car. Rice had volunteered for an extra duty assignment in the area of U.S. 340 and Route 17.

Maryland troopers lost track of the suspect when he drove into West Virginia, but members of the Jefferson County (WV) Sheriff's Department located and apprehended him a short distance from his home. He is being held on $350,000 bond.

SOURCE: www.abc2news.com

Philly Officer Uses Aviation Experience to Talk Ex-Marine Off Ledge

PhotoWhen Philadelphia police Lieutenant Anthony Ginaldi came face-to-face with a former Marine threatening to jump from a seventh story ledge last month, he used an experience in a helicopter accident five years ago while working as a pilot in the aviation unit to save the man's life. As the man stood on the ledge of a medical center parking garage, Ginaldi attempted to find common ground with him. "He said…he got hurt in a helicopter crash over in Egypt," Ginaldi said. "When I was in aviation and we were conducting training…we crashed our helicopter, so that's how I connected with this guy to develop a rapport with him."

Ginaldi, who had never talked a jumper down, said he tried to be honest with the man and connect with him on any level he could. Ginaldi and Sergeant Bob McKeever were ready to grab the man and pull him to safety if the conversation took a wrong turn. After about a half-hour, Ginaldi, a former Army first lieutenant and paratrooper, finally persuaded the man to come back over the railing.

SOURCE: www.philly.com

British Columbia Tests UAS for Search and Rescue Operations

PhotoSearch and Rescue Association crews in Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, have begun testing unmanned aircraft in order to save more lives during SAR operations. The crews expect the UAS to be able to operate in poor weather conditions and reach areas their helicopters cannot. To see video of the UAS tests, please visithttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/search-and-rescue-drones-tested-in-b-c-1.1703609?autoplay=true.


Kurdistan Regional Government Orders 12 Choppers for Law Enforcement, Firefighting

PhotoThe Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has placed orders for 12 new MD 530F helicopters to be delivered during the fourth quarter of 2013. The newest members of the KRG fleet are expected to provide support to the ministry of interior for airborne law enforcement and firefighting missions in the mountainous regions of Kurdistan.

The MD Helicopters Inc. aircraft will be equipped with NVG compatible cockpits, high-powered searchlights and advanced avionics. "The MD 530F provides exceptional mission versatility and proven hot and high performance, [which is necessary in] the Kurdistan region," said Lynn Tilton, MD Helicopters CEO. The aircraft are equipped with the 650 shp Rolls Royce 250-C30 engine and long main rotor blades to improve high-altitude, hot-day performance.

SOURCE: MD Helicopters

Mexico Honors Police Who Died Rescuing Storm Victims

PhotoThe Mexican government recently paid homage to the five police officers that died while helping to rescue victims of Tropical Storm Manuel. The officers lost their lives on Sept. 19 when the helicopter they were riding in while conducting rescue activities crashed. The federal officers were honored at a solemn ceremony headed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

"The federal police officers who gave their lives for their countrymen are a profound loss for Mexico and for this force," said Peña Nieto, who added that the men were among the 4,888 personnel mobilized in helicopters and police vehicles to rescue 938 people and transport more than 88 tons of food to storm victims. The officers that died in the chopper crash were Enrique Briceño, 57, Desiderio Rosado, 43, Jose Ramon Pelaez, 37, Isaac Escobar, 32, and Julio Cesar Zarco, 29.

SOURCE: www.globalpost.com

Eurocopter Installs New AS350 Assembly Line in U.S.

PhotoEurocopter announced it intends to install the necessary industrial capabilities to upgrade the American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, MS, to a final assembly and test site for Eurocopter AS350 helicopters. The new assembly line is expected to begin operation in late 2014.

Eurocopter said the goal of the installation is to offset the impact of the reduction in local production of UH-72A Lakota helicopters and help provide a boost to sales in the U.S. market, especially with government and law enforcement agencies. "North America is the largest light helicopter market in the world for Eurocopter, and this new assembly line supports our industrial strategy by manufacturing the preferred AS350 ‘Made in the USA' in close proximity to our customers," said Joseph Saporito, executive vice president of the global supply chain for Eurocopter.

In addition to becoming a final AS350 assembly and test site using parts produced by Eurocopter and its suppliers, the Columbus plant will continue producing and retrofitting UH-72A Lakotas for the U.S. Army, other federal agencies and foreign military customers. After beginning production in the fourth quarter of 2014, operations are set to expand in 2015, and the plant will produce up to 60 additional helicopters annually by 2016.

SOURCE: Eurocopter

Maryland State Police Helicopter a Full Go

PhotoThe full-service mission operation of the Maryland State Police Aviation Command's first new Agusta Westland AW 139 helicopter has begun. The pilots and flight paramedics who staff "Trooper 3" have been fully trained on the new aircraft and are now flying the helicopter around the clock on all missions.

"This new helicopter and the others that will be deployed represent an incredible improvement to public safety capabilities in Maryland," Colonel Marcus Brown said. "They will provide a safer aircraft for our crews, with more room and equipment for our flight paramedics to care for the injured." The new helicopters reportedly contain the latest in avionics and safety equipment, including terrain awareness warning systems, night vision compatibility, cockpit voice and video recorders, radar altimeters, and advanced instrument flight rating capabilities.

SOURCE: www.wfmd.com

Massachusetts State Police Completes NVG Training

PhotoThe Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Air Wing recently completed NVG repair and maintenance training with Night Flight Concepts. The training program is focused around implementation and sustainability of mission-critical NVIS and laser defense capabilities. It is based on providing regular 180-day internal NVG inspection and repair services to ensure equipment airworthiness.

MSP is the principle statewide law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the largest law enforcement agency in New England and the oldest statewide law enforcement agency in the U.S. The MSP Air Wing maintains a fleet of five turbine helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. The department expects the Night Flight Concepts training program to enhance its mission safety, officer and operator capabilities, and overall mission performance.

SOURCE: www.rotor.org

Canadian Safety Seminar Less Than a Month Away

PhotoThe Royal Canadian Mounted Police Vancouver Air Section will host the 2013 APSA Canadian Regional Safety Seminar in Vancouver, BC, Oct. 29-31. Register now to attend by visiting www.alea.org/events. Registration is free for all APSA members.

APSA is pleased to offer Water Survival / Egress Training during this seminar; however a minimum of 20 students registered by October 15th is required to guarantee this training. Registration cost is $250/student. Register today!

Discounted rooms are available at the Renaissance Vancouver Harborside Hotel. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Canadian Region Director Rob O'Quinn at roquinn@PublicSafetyAviation.org.


PhotoCentral Region Safety Seminar Coming to Dallas

Join APSA's Central Region members for three days of education in Dallas, TX. You'll learn about tactics, techniques and the latest technology available in public safety aviation. The Dallas Police Department will host the event Nov. 5-7, and discounted room rates are now available at the host hotel, the Crowne Plaza Dallas Market Center. Registration for this seminar is free to all APSA members.

APSA is pleased to offer Water Survival / Egress Training during this seminar; however a minimum of 20 students registered by October 22nd is required to guarantee this training. Registration cost is $150/student. Register today!

Visit www.alea.org/events for more information or email Region Director Ryan Miller at rmiller@PublicSafetyAviation.org.