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Any Phoenix or Tucson area ALE here?


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I'm interested in ALE in the east valley area, but I would settle for Tucson or any units operating around Phx.

 

I'm getting out of the military soon and I'm highly interested in both the regular patrol aspects, and the possibility of flight within departments. (whether border patrol, sherrifs, highway patrol, customs or local law enforcement) I'm not sure what the climate is like as far as pilot hiring goes within these departments. I've looked up online, but I was unable to find anything definitive about the possibility of becoming a pilot within these agencies. I found minimum ground time requirements, pay and all of that jazz, but I would like to find out the actual availability of pilot slots.

 

Another important aspect for me would be the actual foot soldier job and how the department is with that. I don't mind doing my time on the ground... in fact I would love to do it. I've got one friend in the OVPD department down near Tucson who is absolutely loving working there, but I don't believe they have air assets at that department. When I was home on R&R I met a Phoenix PD guy who said he absolutely loves the job, too. Unfortunately he didn't know anything about the possibilities of flying for the department.

 

Also for the record I'm not currently a pilot in the military. I plan on using my GI bill and a lot of money I've saved up while deployed to get my CFII before attempting to get hired on anywhere. Advice from anybody flying with these departments or even just working for them is greatly appreciated! :)

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This isn't around Phoenix or Tucson, but Tampa is hiring LEO's and we promote pilots from within the agency. We are always looking for good cop candidates and new hires that have a helo background are destined for the unit if they do a good job on the street.

 

Link:

http://www.tampagov.net/dept_police/Suppor...ices/personnel/

 

If you want to relocate we have a great agency, good pay, and a good pension.

 

Good Luck,

Jeff

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Thanks, you guys.

 

I checked out ALEA but unfortunately you can't look at that kind of stuff without being a member. I think for me it would have cost 30$ a year or something like that. I've still got 5 more months to go over here in Iraq and I don't feel like spending the money on that at least until I'm on my way to getting my PPL.

 

 

Heloplt- I'll stow that away in the possibilities slot. I'm not entirely interested in relocating but I AM finding that the more and more I go home to the PHX area the more I don't like how big it is getting.

 

A quick question if any of you want to oblige me with an answer- When you get on in the air wing of these depts. do they still have you doing regular patrols (or whatever your normal tasks were before getting into the air wing) or is it once you're in, you're in? I find that in some strange manner or another doing daily patrols here in Iraq, interacting with the people, and helping find the bad guys/keep the streets safe is rewarding. Plus, I love the adrenaline of participating in raids and ultimately the satisfaction of either laying to rest the bad, bad guys or zipcuffing them and sending them away for a long time. The only reason I don't want to stay Army is because I don't like being away from home for a long time, and I'm a bit tired of IED's and snipers, ha ha.

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TPD runs B206's from when I saw when I was last home. I can't remember if Pima County runs an aviation detachment. DPS utilized B206L (or used to be) that they based out of Phoenix, last I heard. And I don't recall if Maricopa County runs any aviation.

 

DPS is the only one that doesn't require you to be a LEO before joining the Aviation Detachment.

 

All information is severely dated and subject to denial!!

 

*TPD=Tucson Police Department

DPS=Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol/State Police)

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TPD runs B206's from when I saw when I was last home. I can't remember if Pima County runs an aviation detachment. DPS utilized B206L (or used to be) that they based out of Phoenix, last I heard. And I don't recall if Maricopa County runs any aviation.

 

DPS is the only one that doesn't require you to be a LEO before joining the Aviation Detachment.

 

All information is severely dated and subject to denial!!

 

*TPD=Tucson Police Department

DPS=Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol/State Police)

 

From the ALEA database:

 

DPS has 206L3 and 407's

MesaPD flies MD500's

Phoenix flies AS350B3's A119's, and one A109E

Tucson flies BH206B3's

Pima has an OH58

Maricopa has a 407

 

Most agencies with a full time air unit have dedicated flight personnel. Once you are in the unit, you are there fulltime with little or no other time on the street. Some agencies prohibit the pilots from working the street even on overtime basis. The reason being is you run the risk of getting a pilot with $80,000 worth of training injured chasing a dirtbag and you are out a pilot until he recovers or you can replace him. It has happened! Many agencies use part time flight officers to fill overtime or vacation slots. These guys work regular patrol etc but are trained to fill in a couple of shifts a month to help out with staffing. Upside is you work patrol and fly, downside is we do not train them to be pilots so if you want to be the nut behind the stick then that does not work.

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Eagle1, thanks for the good info. Mesa is actually where I'm from... wouldn't mind flying an MD500... looks like a fast and agile little bird.

 

Also I understand what you're saying about not wanting them to patrol because they have too much training to let some perp on the streets waste it by blasting 'em, but it was my understanding these agencies won't give you the training to be a helo pilot, they will merely place you in the slot if you've already got the certs. If this is not so- does having those licenses beforehand give you a significantly better chance at becoming a pilot for one of these departments, or does it not matter?

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Again from the ALEA database.... It looks like Tuscon and Mesa train you from the ground up as an officer with no flight experience and they pay for the training. Phoenix requires the pilot to obtain and pay for his commercial rating. Everything after that the PD picks up. Best advice is to call and ask them.

 

Obviously if you already have the rating then you have a leg up on the competition.

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Thanks a lot! I'll have to contact Mesa PD.. did you by chance happen to see how many years of ground time you have to do? I couldn't find that on the Mesa site. I could easily afford to get my PPL and most of my commercial rating within a few months of getting out of the army.

 

In your opinion should I register for that ALEA site now and try to build some contacts, or just wait til I get out to join it? Seems like it has a lot of good info.. maybe it'd be worth it. It's only 30$ a year for me.

 

Again, thanks a lot!

 

Thanks a lot! I'll have to contact Mesa PD.. did you by chance happen to see how many years of ground time you have to do? I couldn't find that on the Mesa site. I could easily afford to get my PPL and most of my commercial rating within a few months of getting out of the army.

 

In your opinion should I register for that ALEA site now and try to build some contacts, or just wait til I get out to join it? Seems like it has a lot of good info.. maybe it'd be worth it. It's only 30$ a year for me.

 

Again, thanks a lot!

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You will need 3 years on the streets prior to air support for Mesa. Also I am not sure you are eligable for membership until you are employed as a peace officer or a police employee. There are associate memberships for other catagories like business etc that deal directly with police air support but you will need to check with ALEA. It is a great organization and a wealth of information for those of us in law enforcement.

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Just keep the minset that your interview for the Air Unit starts the day you apply to the department. And the 3 years on the street before applying doesnt mean that in three years there is going to be an opening. You may as well join ALEA now.. what can it hurt.

 

BUT be careful about "wearing out your welcome" as they say when you talk about building contacts. If your serious, get into the department, pass FTO, work on your ratings and your reputation as a street cop, and word will get out to the right people. Once your an officer, then you can just swing by the hangar as an officer and you will be accepted as a fellow officer. Right now...your just some guy who wants their job.

 

You start contacting people now, before your even a cop...I think you will send the wrong message. Unless you have some personal connection to the members of the unit, your not going to be able to just stop by and hang out. As a civilian, you may get one tour, possibly, depending on their policy, one fly along, and that will be it. You need to be connecting with the recruiting team and building your chances of just being hired and passing FTO, not rubbing elbows with the pilots and TFO's. Gather info on the department, not just how many years you have to tolerate patrol before you can fly. If your not successful on the street....youll never get into Air Support. Your going to start as a TFO, not a pilot. That helicopter is a patrol car at 500 ft. And remember....YOU CAN ALWAYS BE REASSIGNED BACK TO PATROL.

I know with my unit, we are BUSY! We fly 5 hours of a 10 hour shift. Honestly..ride alongs and unit tours can be pain in the butt! Its probably like that just about anywhere.

 

Being assigned to Air Support with 3 years on, in a large metro area.....chances of you being successful in the unit are probably pretty slim. I dont know you, and that isnt against you, but the job of TFO is patrol cop mutiplied 10x over. If you arent a solid patrol dog, it isnt going to work out. The learning curve is amazing and its sensory overload sometimes. I couldnt imagine being a new cop and doing it. And in police work, 3 years is still new. Sure, look at the unit, see what they have. But you need to do it assuming it will be several years in the making. And there are varriables you cant evaluate. How many cops on the street already have their ratings and the street time? How many have life long relationships with the members of the unit? I know of cops who have done several rotaions as air unit members. San Diego PD for example. I think all they require is for you to be off probation to be in the unit, however, according to them, it takes about 12 years as a cop to get in.

 

Ill leave you with this. Getting your ratings is fine. Go for it. But when you apply to the unit as a Flight Officer, they arent looking for pilots. They are looking for solid, tested, and respected patrol officers who have proven they can command and direct units on the ground, in some of the worst case scenarios law enforcement can dig up. You go on all the hot calls. When people are screaming on the radio, you have to be calm. You need to have the experience to know the types of calls and how they are handled. You need to be able to direct units into a scene safely on a shots fired call, at night. You need to have the knowledge and experience to be able to decide between 2 or 3 calls that come in, which one you can be the most effective on. You need to have the experience to take an officer to an alternate channel and let them know you wont be effective on that type of call and then go 10-8 to something else....or know when youve just waisted to much time on a stupid call. And then theres times, for just for show....you may need to stay on scene just a little while longer. You'll also be supporting the smaller cities as well, and directing officers you may never meet. You dont learn that stuff at a flight school or out of a book.

 

As my Flight Officer Trainer told me.....You need to be able, in the worst situations, to remove yourself from your emotions and force yourself to be calm and the guys on the ground are going to know if your bullsh$%$ them.

 

My advice....If this is your goal...be a cop first. Get hired....graduate the academy and get off FTO (Field Training) and probation. Then go out and invest $35k on your flight training and start on your dream from there. Because the second half aint gonna happen without the first half.

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Flyingpig- thanks for the lengthy and knowledgeable response. As I said before I don't mind doing the patrol time (in fact I would love to do it) and it seems that with everything in the helo industry it is a "pay your dues" kind of situation. Which, to me, is fine.

 

As far as the being able to do stuff... I actually do have some experience with that and it is all part of the reason this is what I want to do. There are a ton of things I could stand to learn still I'm more than certain of.. but the experience I do have is this- For a year before deploying to Iraq I was our company commander's RTO, and then when we first got out here to Iraq I was the TOC NCOIC for 5 months running the company radios and doing things that were exactly along the lines of what you've stated. Coordinating with the UAV's picture and directing guys on the ground to where the "bad guys" were. Responding to shots fired by sending out patrols to investigate, and cross coordinating with other companies in the AO to make sure we're handling everything properly. So I don't want to sound like I know everything- but I definitely do already have about 5 months of combat experience on the radio directing people into the fight and onto possible situations.

 

Again...I'm still a young buck only having 17 months of experience coordinating the movements of only a company sized element (about 15 moveable units) I have 0 flight time, and although I've been doing the boots on the ground infantry stuff for 3 years only 7 of it has been in combat so far. Which I'm sure is a completely different environment than a police force. I could stand to learn a million things and then a million more, I'm sure.

 

I really appreciate all the advice and from what little I know it seems real solid. Especially about schmoozing and building contacts. I wouldn't want to come off as a kiss ass, and I'm sure that's pretty much exactly what that would look like. So I'll heed the sound advice and try not to come off as a total jack ass.

 

I guess mainly the reason I'm interested in delving in as deeply as possible right now is that since I'm out here and bored most the time (only doing about 7 hours of patrol a day) I feel like I'm losing time in doing what I want to do and while I'm over here doing nothing I might as well spend that time attempting to secure my future. I'm just restless and I am eager to get my civilian life on the move when I get out. But... just like you said... I could see how that could come off as brown nosing.

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Im not wanting to beat this into the ground.....I think you have a good handle on what we were talking about. I wanted to post the obituary of Police Officer Pilot Paul Kaiser, who died of a heart attack on July 17th. I think a portion of it really sums up what we were discussing.....

 

The Columbus Division of Police Helicopter Unit regrets to announce the passing of Office Paul "Stan" Kaiser on Monday July 17,2006. He passed away suddenly from an apparent heart attack while running up his helicopter in preparation for a patrol flight.

Kaiser was more than just a pilot, he was a living legend within the unit. He had accumulated more than 16,000 hours of flight time during his career. Kaiser had a passion for flying that he constantely tried to pass on to younger officers. He tried to mentor and help mold them into not only good pilots, but good police pilots, stressing that flying was one thing, but one really had to be a cop first to know what the officers on the ground were looking for from the aircrew, otherwise the unit might as well be a "flying club." Kaiser was looked at by other officers as an older brother and even a father figure in their lives. If asked, he would always give his opinion on a subject, bad or good, and he always seemed to be right. Kaiser was a family man, proud of his son and daughters, and he couldnt talk enough about his grandchildren.

The Division has lost a great officer and pilot, family and friends have lost a great man, and the world has lost a great soul. Rest in Peace, you deserve it.

 

- Columbus Police Department.

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