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Any rotor-heads here?

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  • Any rotor-heads here?

    I'm looking to get into law enforcement in the next year (patiently waiting on my citizenship, should be by March 07...). Although I'm not specifically interested in LE to fly, it's a path I would consider in the future - I was wondering how some of you rotor-heads that fly helos for depts got started. Military? Civilian experience? The dept trains you? etc. I currently have about 80 hours fixed wing on my private ticket. Is this type of position competitive (like swat)? Thanks for any input you guys may have - also name what type of chopper you fly - thanks!

  • #2
    How about one that always wanted to?

    Man, I would have paid THEM to let me fly. I have my license and all, we just don't have a chopper here.
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    • #3
      Wanna-be's like you and me count!!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Badkharma
        I'm looking to get into law enforcement in the next year (patiently waiting on my citizenship, should be by March 07...). Although I'm not specifically interested in LE to fly, it's a path I would consider in the future - I was wondering how some of you rotor-heads that fly helos for depts got started. Military? Civilian experience? The dept trains you? etc. I currently have about 80 hours fixed wing on my private ticket. Is this type of position competitive (like swat)? Thanks for any input you guys may have - also name what type of chopper you fly - thanks!

        If you are interested in airborne law enforcement, try to get on with a big agency that has a big aviation unit ....... you'll increase your chances once you've done your time on the ground. Police aviation units are verrrrry competitive, like most small, elite/specialized, highly sought after units (assignments) within law enforcement agencies.

        SoCal is the place to be for airborne law enforcement, probably more L.E. agencies with aviation units here than elsewhere in the USA. LAPD and LASD are the big dogs on the block..... but there are many others in SoCal also: Pasadena, El Monte, Glendale, Anaheim PD, Huntington Beach PD, ABLE; and all the surrounding County Sheriff's Departments that abut L.A. also have aviation units, Kern County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, San Diego County and Orange County.

        Check out www.alea.org and also do a search on this site and you'll find some other threads with additional info.

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        • #5
          Hey msw, thanks for the great info and link too!

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          • #6
            US Customs (now CBP) pilots needed something like 1800 hours Pilot In Command in helos to apply. Most every one was a fixed wing multi-engine instructor, many were Helo instructor rated as well. I worked with one who left to become an FAA Instructor trainer of some sort, as well as a National check pilot.
            We definitly had some cream of the crop pilots.
            "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
            John Stuart Mill

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            • #7
              Not sure if it will or has happened, but the new Chief was talking to decommission the helicopter pilots with Metro Nashville PD. He felt their commission as officers wasn't necessary. Maybe Avalance or someone else could advise whether it happened or not.

              Like the others have stated, you would have to look with a bigger PD that has a decent sized aviation unit. From what I've seen (and heard), most of the pilots come with military experience. It is EXPENSIVE as hell to get your ratings as a helicopter pilot, so why not go to the military and get paid to do it.
              I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SgtScott31
                Not sure if it will or has happened, but the new Chief was talking to decommission the helicopter pilots with Metro Nashville PD. He felt their commission as officers wasn't necessary. Maybe Avalance or someone else could advise whether it happened or not.

                Like the others have stated, you would have to look with a bigger PD that has a decent sized aviation unit. From what I've seen (and heard), most of the pilots come with military experience. It is EXPENSIVE as hell to get your ratings as a helicopter pilot, so why not go to the military and get paid to do it.

                A couple of more (random) comments ............

                If you are REALLY interested in airborne law enforcement, try to go with an agency that has at least three aircraft AND has had an airborne law enforcement unit for awhile (10+ years, maybe). In my experience, these criteria show "staying power" in the field; and smaller agencies with one or two (especially one) aircraft are more likely likely to give up their aviation unit than bigger agencies, with more aircraft, when tough budget times hit.

                Civilianization of the positions of sworn airborne law enforcement pilots is always a possibility, and is a topic that regularly comes up in police aviation circles........ usually brought up by upper management and/or the bean counters. (There are arguments both pro and con on this topic, though my personal opinion is that sworn pilots is a much better way to go than civilian pilots. ) To minimize - though not eliminate - your chances of having this happen, again, pick an agency with a long history of sworn pilots.

                A final word to those of you interested in flying and airborne law enforcement. If you really want to be a pilot, go be a pilot somewhere. If you want to be a cop, then be a cop. I was a street cop (and detective) for over 22 years before my assignment to my agency's aviation unit, and I really don't want the guy sitting beside me in my helicopter to be more focused on "building time" for some other flying job ........ or wishing he was an airline pilot or TV news or EMS helo jockey ...... than he is in doing police work and assisting the guys on the ground in putting the crooks in jail.

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                • #9
                  Would love to get my licence but unless I change careers and start flying for a living, it isn't going to happen.

                  Too many log hours required and out of my pocket it would be probably cheaper to buy a brand spanking new Porsche.

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