Air Support Unit

30 Cajon St., Redlands, CA 92373
(909) 798-7681 • Fax (909) 798-7639

Shawn Ryan, Unit Commander
Telephone (909) 798-7631

Travis Martinez, Unit Lieutenant
Telephone (909) 557-6583

Sean Flynn, Unit Sergeant
Telephone (909) 798-7681

Dan Elton, Unit Manager
Telephone (909) 798-7681

airplane flying

The Air Support Unit of the Redlands Police Department took flight in May 2007 in a specially outfitted Cessna 172 purchased with drug asset seizure funds. Since 2007 the Air Support Unit has logged over 4,320 hours of flight time in a variety of duties, including patrolling the city’s streets, neighborhoods and canyon areas, assisting ground units and providing surveillance assistance to specialized units. The Redlands Police Department Air Support Unit also provides patrol and surveillance support to Redlands Police patrol officers and special units such as the Multiple Enforcement Team and Narcotics Unit. The Air Support Unit serves as a force multiplier, dramatically increasing the crime control effectiveness of the police department’s current efforts. In September 2012, our air support unit joined a regional air support operation, on a trial basis, with the cities of Fontana, Rialto, and Colton. The Redlands Police airplane, Redhawk1, assists with air support for patrol and surveillance assistance for the cities involved in the regionalized operation.

The program is paid for solely out of drug asset seizure funds, taken from local drug dealers, a portion of which is returned to the local law enforcement agency specifically for use in narcotics-related law enforcement purposes. None of the program’s funding comes from the City’s General Fund, the money used to pay for traditional city obligations such as street maintenance and repair, tree trimming, police and firefighters and other personnel.

The Air Support Unit is staffed solely by citizen volunteers, except for the one full time officer assigned as the unit manager and tactical flight observer. The unit currently has 25 volunteer pilots and 8 volunteer co-pilots, some of whom are retired law enforcement officers. Volunteers within the Air Support Unit are required to remain in “good standing” with the unit by attending quarterly safety meetings, volunteering a minimum of five (5) hours of service to the unit per month, maintaining a current pilot’s license and medical certificate (pilot position only), and adhering to the unit’s Rules and Regulations, other written and verbal orders and standard operating procedures, and the Redlands Police Department policy manual. To date (end of 2013), volunteers within the Air Support unit have donated 17,177 for an approximate $1,047,797 savings to the city.

Air Support Unit statistics in calendar year 2015:

- 1351 Calls for service

- 233 first on scene for "non ASU generated"

- Assisted several surrounding agencies over 50+ times which totaled over 70 hours of flight time

- Flew 500 hours total time all year. 400 was patrol and 100 was on surveillance.

- Assisted on 72 felony arrests

- 27 Misdemeanor arrests

- 27 Lojack hits with 16 recoveries with a total value of about $134,000.

- Assisted on 21 narcotics cases which led to $1,762,860 in narcotic seizures and $1,286,600 in money seized

- Involved in 6 vehicle pursuits, and 15 foot pursuits

Volunteer Pilot Opportunities

The Redlands Police Department is recruiting volunteer pilots to participate in the department's Air Support Unit.

Pilots must be at least 21 years old with at least a private pilot’s license, current medical certificate and a minimum 300 hours flight time in a fixed-wing, general aviation aircraft with significant time in a Cessna 172.

Volunteer pilots will be required to pass a background check and interview as well as explain their reason for volunteering and their flight experience. They will also be required to pass a flight test.

Those selected must be able to fly at least one 5-hour shift per month and participate in quarterly training sessions.

The Air Support Unit, using volunteer pilots, many of whom are retired law enforcement officers, and a specially outfitted Cessna 172 will provide patrol and surveillance support to Redlands Police officers and special units on the ground.

The Air Support Unit will fly approximately 800 to1,000 hours per year in a variety of duties, including patrolling the city’s streets, neighborhoods and canyon areas, assisting ground units and providing surveillance assistance to specialized units.

To volunteer, download the pilot application, or call (909) 335-4744.

Forward completed applications to:

Commander Shawn Ryan
30 Cajon St.
Redlands, CA 92373

Regional Law Enforcement Agencies

Air Support Units


Fontana Police Department

Indio Police Department

Ontario Police Department

Palm Springs Police Department

Riverside Police Department

Riverside Sheriff's Department

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

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