Air Support Unit
Air Support Unit
Air Support Unit
30 Cajon St., Redlands, CA 92373
(909) 798-7681 • Fax (909) 798-7639
Lt. Shawn Ryan, Unit Supervisor
Telephone (909) 798-7631
Officer Justin Jimenez, Unit Manager
Telephone (909) 798-7681
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 3,650 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 20 volunteer pilots and 7 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 2012), volunteers within the Air Support unit have donated 14,320 hours for an approximate $873,520 savings to the city.
Air Support Unit statistics in calendar year 2012:
Calls for Service – 1814
Flight Hours – 598.3
Missing persons searches – 3
Felony Arrest Assists – 96
Misdemeanor Arrest Assists – 36
ASU initiated arrests – 5
Ground - 7 min
Air - 1 min
Stolen Property Recovered - $115,959.01
Seized Narcotics value - $2,221,030
Canyon & Park checks – 649
Volunteer Pilot Opportunites
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.