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06 June 2018
06. June 2018 Helicopters

Aerial law enforcement: in service of their communities

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police watching over the city of Las Vegas in an H145. They operate six helicopters, deployed 80% of the time on patrols in support of ground officers.

A
mong the H125, H135 and H145, around 810 helicopters are in service in law enforcement, contributing to AG真人计划鈥 nearly 60 percent share of the global law enforcement fleet over the last 10 years. Below, a look at the airborne police units of Las Vegas, Japan and Germany, who are at the service of community and country in specially-equipped helicopters.聽

Up on the mountain聽
The helicopter鈥檚 shadow flits across the desert, where Joshua trees stand like old men over clumps of creosote. It鈥檚 still cool and snow lies in valleys on Mount Charleston. The crew of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department鈥檚 air unit, or Metro, point the nose of their聽H145聽toward the area where a hiker has slipped and sustained injuries.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 1

鈥淲e transfer from the scene to medical transport,鈥 says Steve Morris, Jr., Metro chief pilot. 鈥淭he medevac companies won鈥檛 go back in the canyons. And they don鈥檛 have a hoisting ability, so we鈥檙e called to transfer from the scene.鈥

The canyon where the hiker is waiting lies in shadow, its 90-foot walls V-shaped. The H145 hovers while the hoist operator lowers his crewmate to the canyon floor. Wind bends the trunks of junipers, their branches an obstacle for the orange-suited officer; he tugs the yellow rescue sling out of their way as he descends.

The medevac companies won鈥檛 go back in the canyons, and they don鈥檛 have a hoisting ability, so we鈥檙e called to transfer from the scene.

Steve Morris, Jr., Las Vegas Metropolitan Police chief pilot

Las Vegas Metro operates six helicopters, deployed 80% of the time on patrols in support of ground officers. In August 2017, they became the US鈥檚 first police agency to take delivery of an H145, for mountain rescues. It鈥檚 also used for quick reaction force deployment, as during the 2017 Rock 鈥檔 Roll Marathon, where 鈥渨e had it ready, staffed and staged,鈥 says Morris. 鈥淲e flew overwatch over the events with the team in the back ready to deploy.鈥

A few minutes pass, with everyone concentrated 鈥 the pilot on the instruments, the hoist operator鈥檚 gloved hand on the line to guide his crewmate in. The altimeter reads 9,047 feet mean sea level (MSL), with the H145鈥檚 twin engines maintaining a steady hover. The rescuer rises into view, supporting the hiker in the sling.

鈥淭he rescue at Mount Charleston was high,鈥 says Morris. 鈥淲e鈥檒l get some higher-density altitude ones in the summer, when it鈥檚 over 112o F (44o C).鈥

Las Vegas Police takes on the H145

 

Chief pilot Steve Morris Jr talks about the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department鈥檚 newest H145 fleet addition and how the aircraft helps them fulfil their missions. Read less Read more

H145 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 4 J茅r么me Deulin
 / 
United States 16 May 2018

H145 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 4

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police watching over the city of Las Vegas in an H145. AG真人计划 has more than 800 helicopters in service in law enforcement with the H125, H135 and H145, contributing to AG真人计划鈥 nearly 60 percent share of the global law enforcement fleet over the last 10 years.

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H145 Vegas Police Helicopter Pilot 3 C茅lian BAUDUIN / AG真人计划 Helicopters
 / 
United States 23 May 2018

H145 Vegas Police Helicopter Pilot 3

Steve Morris Jr, chief pilot for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and a colleague head to their H145 helicopter for a day of work. In August 2017, Las Vegas Metro became the US鈥檚 first police agency to take delivery of an H145, for mountain rescues.

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H145 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 5 J茅r么me Deulin
 / 
United States 16 May 2018

H145 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 5

The crew of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department鈥檚 air unit in an H145 helicopter. AG真人计划 has more than 800 helicopters in service in law enforcement with the H125, H135 and H145, contributing to AG真人计划鈥 nearly 60 percent share of the global law enforcement fleet over the last 10 years.

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Disaster relief-ready聽
In Japan, you鈥檙e as likely to see police officers paying a house call on an elderly resident, as see them chasing down a criminal. The country鈥檚 view of society and community defines the role of law enforcement in a number of ways. And far from the high-rise apartments, the country鈥檚 coastline requires a different sort of intervention, as police maintain a lookout for illegal trafficking and threats to national security.

To meet the aerial needs of Japan's National Police Agency (NPA), around 80 small and medium helicopters are used, of which 10 H135s and 10 Dauphin H155s are seen patrolling, providing aerial support to ground forces, performing electronic surveillance or helping in disaster relief.

Operating above crowded cities 鈥 Tokyo鈥檚 13.7 million people fit in 2,193 km2 (847 sq-miles) 鈥 presents challenges to law enforcement squads. In the nine prefectures where H135s are in use, sound issues are kept to a minimum鈥攖he Fenestron tail rotor doing the job of 鈥渒eeping the peace鈥 between police and residents.

Japan鈥檚 police also train extensively for disaster relief, critical to a region at the mercy of earthquakes and tsunamis. Domestically, the NPA is tasked for natural disaster response鈥攖he 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami are a recent example.

In 2018, two new H135s will enter service in Kumamoto and Wakayama prefectures, loaded with equipment for a variety of missions. A radio for traffic control, a GPS system, a hoist and fast-rappelling system, and a host of cockpit features designed to enhance the aircraft鈥檚 flight safety will aid officers as they 鈥減rotect life, person, and property.鈥 聽

In Japan, you鈥檙e as likely to see police officers paying a house call on an elderly resident, as see them chasing down a criminal.

H135 Police Japon 1
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Japan 19 December 2014

H135 Police Japon 1

Each H135 flies an average of 300 hours per years and will be in service for 20 years, until they reach around 6000 hours.

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H135 Police Japon 2
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Japan 14 January 2016

H135 Police Japon 2

The H135s are based in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Saitama, Osaka, Fukui, Kochi, Tokushima, Fukuoka and Miyazaki. Two more will enter service in 2018 in Kumamoto and Wakayama prefectures.

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H135 Police Japon 3
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Japan 02 May 2014

H135 Police Japon 3

The H135s are also used for commercial passenger transport.

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H135 Police Japon 4
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Japan 12 August 2015

H135 Police Japon 4

The new H135s, which will arrive in 2018, will be equipped with Helionix avionics.

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H135 Police Japon 5
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Japan 31 August 2011

H135 Police Japon 5

Police watching Japon in a H135.

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Community policing
Flying low over the historic centre of Stuttgart, Germany, the police of Baden-W眉rttemberg have set off in their H145 on a search for a missing person鈥攁 retirement home resident. Frost dusts the ground in Stuttgart鈥檚 gardens. The two pilots with systems operator, Christian Daxkobler, reach the area where the man is thought to be and begin scanning the bushes with an electro-optical system. 鈥淭he thermal imaging camera allows us to spot details we simply couldn鈥檛 see with the naked eye,鈥 says Daxkobler. 鈥淎nd even if someone is partially obscured by branches and leaves, we can still detect them by their heat signature.鈥

Seated in the H145鈥檚 rear cabin at a station with a 22-inch screen, Daxkobler 鈥 who鈥檚 been with the unit for four-and-a-half years 鈥 can analyse the images in real time while relaying them to the police dispatch and patrol cars. The H145 has an image-stabilised, high-definition camera. Used with the searchlight, the crew members are able to build a complete picture.

鈥淲e鈥檝e seen an increase in these sorts of callouts in recent years,鈥 says Martin Landgraf, deputy chief of Baden-W眉rttemberg鈥檚 police helicopter unit. 鈥淭he H145 is a state-of-the-art police helicopter we can use to support our colleagues on the ground.鈥

Last year, we successfully located 62 missing people, all still alive, but people who might well have died without the help of our police helicopter unit.

- Martin Landgraf, deputy chief of Baden-W眉rttemberg鈥檚 police helicopter unit

Since 2016, Baden-W眉rttemberg鈥檚 police helicopter unit has been operating six H145 helicopters in Stuttgart and S枚llingen, where 72 people are on call 24/7. In 2017, they flew over 2,600 missions, enforcing Germany鈥檚 concept that police should operate in close cooperation with the community.

In addition to searches for missing people, the unit undertakes flights for environmental protection, the documentation of severe accidents, manhunts, and surveillance. 鈥淪aving lives is our top priority,鈥 says Landgraf. 鈥淟ast year, we successfully located 62 missing people, all still alive, but people who might well have died without the help of our police helicopter unit.鈥澛

H145-SN20106

The H145s of the Baden-W眉rttemberg police are versatile multi mission police helicopters.

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