REGINA – Initial numbers for the RPS Aerial Support Unit show it’s been an effective addition to fighting crime.
The unit - comprised of two pilots and four Tactical Flight Officers - provides support for officers on the ground with real-time insight from the air.
“With a unique vantage point, the Aerial Support Unit is able to address crimes in progress by quickly locating suspects and directing our Patrol units to make arrests.” said Deputy Chief Dean Rae in a media release. “When we can be more efficient in our work, we are able to direct resources to more calls for service and investigations throughout our city.”
In just two short months between Jan. 20 and March 20 of this year, police say the ASU has been part of nearly 500 police files, and “has had a direct impact on reducing victimization and holding offenders accountable in our community.” In that two-month time span, the ASU has assisted in 97 arrests, 127 charges laid, 34 warrants executed, 14 recovered stolen vehicles, and 41 saved trips for ground units.
“In just two months, the Aerial Support Unit has proven to be a valuable investment. We are proud of the positive impact on public safety and are committed to continuing our work to keep our community safe from the air and on the ground,” said Deputy Chief Rae.
The plane itself is a 2005 Cessna 182T equipped with a wide angle infrared camera, purchased through a partnership between Provincial Civil Forfeiture ($600,000) and SGI ($120,000).
In additional to help criminal investigations, the ASU is also used to locate missing or vulnerable people, plus assist in other non-criminal investigations, and give valuable information to on-the-ground resources about possible hidden dangers.
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