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Aviation Units in Large Law Enforcement Agencies, 2007

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2009
24 pages
Lynn Langton
Publication Series
This report examines the specialized airborne police units that operate fixed-wing planes or helicopters in large State and local law enforcement agencies.
Topics include the types and characteristics of aircraft operated by law enforcement aviation units and the personnel and monetary resources assigned to the units. The report includes comparisons of the use of law enforcement planes versus helicopters and covers safety and training requirements for pilots. Highlights include the following: Aviation units nationwide operated nearly 900 aircraft (604 helicopters, 295 planes) and spent an estimated total of $300 million in 2007 on aircraft purchases, leasing and financing, and maintenance and fuel; in 2007, 92 percent of aviation units engaged in vehicle pursuits; almost 90 percent of units performed counternarcotics missions; about 80 percent conducted counterterrorism missions; and nearly 70 percent of units engaged in firefighting activities; a greater percentage of units had helicopters (88 percent) than planes (50 percent); and about half of the aircraft in operation were at least 20 years old. 6 figures, 15 tables, and appendix.

Date Created: April 30, 2018