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CHP Air Operations Receives Excellence Award
CHP air pix
Shown, representatives of the International Association of Chiefs of Police presenting an award to the California Highway Patrol recognizing the effectiveness of its Air Operations Program. Photo Contributed

An award for Excellence in Police Aviation from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) acknowledges the work of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to enhance the safety and effectiveness of its Air Operations Program (AOP). The award was presented recently at the IACP Convention in San Diego.

The IACP award is given to recognize excellence in airborne law enforcement, emphasizing initiatives to enhance the general level and safety of operations, accident prevention programs, and the efficiency and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement. Eligible efforts can range from the unit level to the national or international level, including rotary, fixed-wing, or unmanned aircraft operations.

The CHP has 15 helicopters and 15 airplanes in its fleet. Five new helicopters and three new airplanes were specifically designed with the latest equipment including sensor systems, rescue hoists, night vision, and avionics. Eventually, the entire fleet will be replaced to accomplish the CHP’s goals of protecting life and property by providing superior service to the public and assistance to allied agencies.

“Our crews respond at all times of the day, in many conditions, and in any region when lives are at risk and time is of the essence. Our aircraft and crews have to be the best, for their own safety and for the safety and protection of the people we serve,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “This award recognizes the strides the CHP AOP has made in safety, equipment, and professionalism.”

The CHP works with first responders throughout the state during emergencies and on a daily basis. Participating in joint exercises reduces redundancy and improves relationships and communication with national, state, county, and local emergency responders. The CHP flight crew receives ongoing training to enhance their professional skills in addition to the law enforcement-related training they receive as sworn peace officers. Air Operations is regarded as a profession within a profession.

In July 2016, the Public Safety Aviation Accreditation Commission accredited the CHP AOP, which is the largest law enforcement aviation program accredited to date. The accreditation process allowed a third party to view the CHP’s aviation program and validate the professionalism and exceptional quality of CHP policies, procedures, crews, and equipment.