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Back to Archives | Back to April 2004 Contents 

Advances and Applications

Where do the good ideas come from?

In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about — and benefit from — some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented
by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Fontana Police Use
New Robinson Helicopter

Robinson Helicopter
The Robinson Helicopter Company announces that a new R44 Raven II police helicopter has entered service with the Fontana Police Department in California, just in time to assist emergency personnel with the large wild fires that struck the region. The helicopter flew the city's mayor and chief of police over fire-damaged areas in and around Fontana, allowing city officials to make immediate tactical decisions concerning additional resources, evacuations, and reopening roads.

"It saved time and money being able to take these people immediately into the air to survey the damage rather than attempting to see it by driving," said Lieutenant Chris Tronaas, emergency services coordinator and Air Support Unit supervisor for the Fontana Police Department. "But what was even more remarkable is both of them identified hot spots during their flights. In each instance the pilot called in firefighting helicopters to extinguish the blazes, which was done while the R44 hovered a safe distance away. The mayor and chief are now firmly set in their appreciation for the aircraft."

Owned and operated by California Aviation Services Inc., the police helicopter flies four nights a week, for a total of 40 hours, over Fontana. It went into service October 8 and within 30 minutes started earning its keep.

"We were right at the beginning of the shift when the Lo Jack went off," said CAS owner and pilot Leo Bell. "We were over the stolen car before dispatch could give us the description and it was successfully recovered. The next day we apprehended robbery suspects. We've been busy almost every night since."

After seven years of annual contracts with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for air support, Fontana was forced to seek alternative air support options when the county raised the rates it charged to cover increased expenses.

"We needed something we could afford, something that was fast enough to keep up with cars racing 110 miles per hour down the freeway, carry three people, have a FLIR, and be flown by police-trained pilots," said Bell, a sworn police officer and helicopter pilot.

For more information, click here, and insert number 201 in the box on the Reader Service Number response service.

Nassau County Hires Architect for Police and Fire Building

Swanke Hayden Connell Architects announces that it is providing architectural, interior design, and graphic design services for a new police and fire marshal headquarters in Nassau County, Long Island, New York.

According to Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, the facility is a critical initial step in a comprehensive real estate consolidation plan. "This new complex will combine existing county operations from 11 different locations," he noted. "It will enable us to provide enhanced services to the public at a considerable cost savings."

Located in Westbury, the 300,000-square-foot facility will house all of Nassau County's police department headquarters functions as well as most police bureaus and squads, the fire marshal's headquarters, and the arson and bomb squad. The center will also include communications and information systems and forensic labs, a 300-seat assembly hall, a public business transaction entrance, and a police museum.

The architects conducted programming interviews with more than 50 divisions of the police department and the fire marshal's office to determine the space requirements of the various functions. The architects expect construction of the $110 million public safety center to begin in late 2005.

For more information, click here, and insert number 202 in the box on the Reader Service Number response service.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Acquires Bushmaster Carbines

Bushmaster Firearms announces that it has been awarded a contract from the Tennessee Department of Public Safety to produce 1,000 Bushmaster carbines with 16-inch barrels and A2 fixed sights. The company says it will train highway patrol staff on the carbines and conduct in-the-field inspections twice yearly.

For more information, click here, and insert number 203 in the box on the Reader Service Number response service.


From The Police Chief, vol. 71, no. 4, April 2004. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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