Friday, October 20, 2017

Riverside County, California: Find out how police will benefit from a $982,870 airplane

Criminals who become smug when they don’t hear the chop-chop-chop of a Riverside police helicopter overhead could be in for a surprise.

The Police Department hopes to have an airplane flying above the city in November after the City Council approved the purchase on Tuesday, Oct. 17. The department primarily plans to use the airplane for surveillance of narcotics traffickers, gang members and large events, and secondarily patrol, Deputy Chief Larry Gonzalez said.

The $982,870 airplane — which comes fully equipped for law enforcement purposes — will be cheaper to operate than a helicopter, Gonzalez said.

“The biggest thing is No. 1, to be able to stay up in the air twice as long and stay up in the air twice as high. We’re up in a plane 4,500 feet a couple of miles away, and being able to do good surveillance without people knowing we’re there,” Gonzalez said in an interview.

He also told council members: “(It) also might cut down on some of your complaints from your constituents on how loud the helicopter is.”

Aviation Sgt. Erik Lindgren test-flew the plane and gave it high marks.

The plane is equipped with a color and infrared camera that can deliver sharp, high-resolution color images from 6 to 9 miles away to officers on the ground.

It will be staffed by a pilot and an observer.

The plane will benefit other agencies as well, a report to the council said, including Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force/Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, Riverside County Transportation Commission and the Corona Police Department. Corona contracts with Riverside for air patrol.

Riverside has three helicopters, one 34 years old with 11,518 flight hours, another 21 years old with 12,834 flight hours and one 8 years old with 5,226 flight hours. The estimated cost to maintain all three over the next five years is $2.6 million. The estimated cost to operate a helicopter is more than $400 per hour; the estimated cost to operate an airplane is $190 per hour, the report said.

The plan to pay for the airplane includes selling the oldest helicopter.

Jim Bueermann, president of The Police Foundation, which tries to improve policing through analysis and training, said most major law enforcement agencies have airplanes.

“If they are going to use the plane for narcotics or other criminal investigation surveillance, then a plane is much better to use than a helicopter. They’re less expensive to operate and more effective in long-term surveillance,” he said.

Redlands police purchased an airplane — law enforcement calls them fixed-wing aircraft — when Bueermann was chief. The department wanted to create air support for officers and improve its surveillance ability, and it found an airplane cheaper to operate than a helicopter.

With the amount of airplane traffic in Southern California, Bueermann said, “One plane looks like the other. The general public will probably never notice that the plane is up there.”

Riverside’s $982,870 airplane purchase

Where the money will come from to buy the new plane.

$400,000: Sale of helicopter

$382,870: Reallocation of Measure Z funds – unused police vehicle lease dollars

$135,000: Police evidence trust account

$65,000: State asset forfeiture account, such as money seized from drug dealers

Story and photo gallery ➤

Charleston County, South Carolina: Sheriff’s Office is Asking for a New Police Helicopter

CHARLESTON, SC (WTAT-TV) — The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is looking to get a new helicopter.

They made a proposal to the Public Safety Committee on Thursday saying the two they have are nearly 50-years-old.

Sheriff personnel says air support is currently used to search for missing persons, boaters in distress and to assist law enforcement.

The cost is around $3 million for a new helicopter but officials say they cannot sell their current one in order to buy a new one.

“We would have to turn them back into the surplus program and it would be repurposed,” said Scott Martray, chief pilot. “It would be given to other agencies that could use them even for parts, but we would have to turn them back in – we can’t sell them.”

The helicopter they are trying to buy was built in 2012 and say the advance technology will help continue its mission to protect the citizens of Charleston County and surrounding areas.

Story and video ➤

Cessna 150L, N10653: Incident occurred October 10, 2017 near Otter Lake, Alaska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

Aircraft force landed on the bank of a river.

Date: 10-OCT-17
Time: 01:30:00Z
Regis#: N10653
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C150
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

ELA 07-Scorpion, N534EA, GyroPlaneGuy Inc: Incident occurred October 19, 2017 at Sebring Regional Airport (KSEF), Highlands County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Rotorcraft made a hard landing.

GyroPlaneGuy Inc:

Date: 19-OCT-17
Time: 13:15:00Z
Regis#: N534EA
Aircraft Make: ELA 07 ROTORCRAFT
Aircraft Model: SCORPION
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)