The IACP Leadership in Police Aviation Award is presented annually at the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition. Awards are presented to an individual who holds a management or leadership position in police aviation and/or an aviation program or unit that exemplifies excellence in airborne law enforcement. The awards emphasize initiatives to enhance the general level and safety of operations, accident prevention programs, and the efficiency and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement. Efforts eligible for recognition can range from the unit level to the national or international level, including rotary, fixed-wing, or unmanned aircraft operations.
2017 Winner - Seminole County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office
Seminole County sits just north of Orlando, Florida and is home to a little under 450,000 residents. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Aviation Section is responsible for providing air support within the county and provides service for several other city police agencies within the service area.
In today’s operations, the agency has a mission profile that continues to diversify in what they provide the county, but mainly focuses on supporting patrol operations. The unit also offers firefighting capability and the only SWAT deployment and hoist rescue ability in the Orlando metro area. In 2016 the unit delivered 128 water drops on wildfires in and around Seminole County. Within the first six months of 2017, the unit had already been called to make 276 drops. One of these fires was in April 2017, near the Chuluota area of Seminole County where wildfires directly threatened a large housing development. Due to the water drops from the assigned unit, no homes were lost in the fire and no personnel were injured.
In 2016, the unit located 150 persons and 118 of those persons were located using the thermal camera. In two major 2017 cases, an officer involved in a shooting and a stolen vehicle crash with multiple fatalities, the aircrew’s work and camera footage were used to detail the actions of involved law enforcement units.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Section has worked to maximize efficiency, safety, and customer support since its inception. The unit members make great efforts in training and continuing education to make sure they are delivering the best possible service to the community. Unit members are motivated to find new and innovative ways to deliver the most professional public safety aviation services possible.
Today the SCSO Aviation Section prides itself in not only meeting, but setting the standard in law enforcement aviation. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office has a goal to embrace not only their efforts to provide transparency to the public, but in their air unit’s efforts to constantly look for ways to improve their safety practices and strive to find more ways to improve their operations.
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