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Monday, October 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Law Enforcement Gathers in Orlando

ALEA

The Airborne Law Enforcement Assn. held its 37th annual convention and expo in Orlando, Fla. July 12-14, drawing more than 1,400. The event, co-hosted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept., included 164 exhibitors, more than 20 aircraft on static display, and a variety of professional workshops.

At its annual membership breakfast and meeting, ALEA President Dan Schwarzbach reported membership was up across the board: 3,500 helicopter and fixed-wing pilots, maintenance personnel, and supporters. He thanked members for their many efforts, including those who helped put a law on the books in Texas making it a crime to target a police aircraft with lasers, spotlights, and other blinding devices.

On the last day of the conference, members recognized four individuals for outstanding contributions to airborne law enforcement. Josh Esquivel, Los Angeles’ aviation maintenance supervisor, was honored for keeping city-owned helicopters flying more than 340,000 hr without a maintenance-related accident. Sgt. James Johnson of the Nashville, Tenn. Police Dept. was honored for his one-skid landing in bad weather, which led to the apprehension of the shooter of Nashville police officer. Gary Richardson was recognized for his many years of dedicated service to the Omaha Police helicopter unit. And Henry Michaels was cited for his 30 years of service with the Orange County, Calif. Sheriff Dept.’s aviation unit.

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