The Air Support Unit of the Redlands Police Department took flight in May 2007 in a specially outfitted Cessna 172 airplane 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.
The Redlands PD Air-Support unit is constantly looking for innovative, cost-effective ways to be an asset to the officers on the ground. Since 2008, the RPD Air-Support airplane has utilized a Cloud Cap Technology TASE Stabilized camera system. The TASE150 stabilized camera, similar to ones used on unmanned aerial vehicles, has been mounted on the plane and provides excellent viewing, recording, and monitoring during patrol and surveillance operations. In the future, the camera imagery will be downlinked to computers in the officers’ police cars, computers at the station, as well as to mobile devices (iPhones and iPads), assigned to each officer.
The Redlands Police Department has shown the benefit of having a cost-efficient aviation resource which increases crime fighting capabilities and enhances officer safety. Furthermore, Redlands taxpayers receive better police services through the force multiplying efforts of the Air Support Unit leveraging their existing investment in the Redlands Police Department.
The following statistics were logged by the Redlands Air Support Unit between spring of 2007 and the end of 2012: