Since 1919, law enforcement agencies have used fixed wing and rotor wing aircrafts to assist in enforcing the law. In 2007, data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that large law enforcement departments provided aerial enforcement in the District of Columbia and 46 states. There were 295 airplanes and 604 helicopters being operated, which flew more than 330,000 missions. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/aullea07.pdf The types of airplane that are used by law enforcement are Cessna 182, Cessna 206, Pilatus PC-12 Spectres, P-3 Orions, Citations, Learjets, Gulfstream jets, King Air 350s and 200s and some larger airliner-type aircraft. Some of the helicopters used are the American Euro-copter EC120/130/145, AStar AS350/355N/350 B2, Dolphin HH-65C, Blackhawk UH-60, Maverick, Raven II R44, Cayuse OH-6 and McDonnell Douglas MD 600. The types of missions these aircrafts conduct are surveillance, drug interdiction, fugitive searches, routine patrol or support, search and rescue, personnel transport, prisoner transport, SWAT operation, traffic enforcement, speed enforcement, homeland security, photographic, medical support and evacuation. Both types of aircrafts have their advantages and disadvantages in airborne law enforcement. http://www.kansas.com/2010/08/01/1427779/aviation-sees-growth-in-law-enforcement.html. The advantages that a helicopter has over an airplane are that they can land and take off without the need for run ways. Their airfoil shape rotors are like the wings of an airplane, as the rotor spins, air flow faster over the tops of the blades than it does under, thus creating lift for flight. Their unique rotor design allows for them to takeoff vertically, fly in any direction including sideways, backwards and hover over an area. Their ability to hover provides coverage for the ground units on the street and if needed land to assist in foot pursuits. They can be equipped with a winch for the purpose of lowering or picking up personnel or equipments on the ground, at sea or on mountains during a search and rescue mission, where there is no place to land . They are better able to maneuver around tall structures at lower altitudes. manhttp://library.thinkquest.org/J0112389/helicopters.htm. On 14 November 2008, San Diego Police Department ABLE helicopter used the FLIR camera to catch a man facing murder charges for beating another with a crutch in the middle of the street. http://www.policeone.com/police-products/tactical/night-vision/videos/5954944-police-helicopter-catches-bizarre-street-fight-on-flir-camera On 30, January 3013 the NYPD police helicopter rescues a shipâ€™s captain who was having a heart attack. A dramatic nighttime helicopter rescue in New Yeark Harbor may have saved the life of a shipâ€™s captain. Police say they received a call Tuesday night that the captain of the Panamanian cargo ship Grey Shark was having a heart attack. The NYPD harbor medical team stabilized the 60 year old captain before calling the help of a police helicopter. A basket was lowered to hoist him up into the chopper, which then flew him to Staten Island University Hospital North. He was listed in stable condition. http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/176246/police-helicopter-rescues-ship-captain-who-was-having-a-heart-attack The helicopters are force multipliers for ground units, because they can monitor the tactical environment, give alerts or observe things which the ground units are unable to detect. Additionally, they can respond and cover ground more quickly than ground units. The flight deck of a helicopter can be equipped with multiple electronic equipments. Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) also know as glass cockpit that provides flight and system information to the crew, Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera allows the crew to see images created from infrared energy, moving map system show their location, satellite phones provide direct communication, digital video downlink gives real time images, night vision goggles can be used in low light situation if needed, loudspeakers for communication or message deliver to the ground, tear gas dispensers, police and aviation radios . Disadvantages helicopters are that they cost more to operate and maintain. A fully equipped helicopter can cost from $500,000 to $3 million and the flying costs ranges from $200 to $400 per hour. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-09-30-cophelicopters_N.htm Maintenance, fuel, leasing and financing cost are three times then the cost to operate and maintain airplanes. Due to its abilities to fly lower and hover over areas it creates lots of noise and is easily detectable. The capacities of passengers that a helicopter can carry are limited. The Robinson RA-44 can carry 2 to 4 personnel and others like the Blackhawk UH-60 can carry 11 personnel or the Bell UH-1 that can be configured to carry 15 personnel. The general commercial helicopters used by the law enforcement agencies have a flight time of two to four hours, with top speed from 50 to 200 knots and an average range of about 200 miles. The operations of fixed wing aircraft have some advantages over rotor wing aircrafts in law enforcement. They can perform a wide range of missions which requires them to stay airborne longer then a rotor wing aircraft is able to. Fix wing aircraft can carry more payloads and engine performances are great then those of rotor wing aircrafts. Aero surveillance, homeland security, speed enforcement and transport of people or gear are mostly the missions performed. http://www.lawofficer.com/article/patrol/fixed-wing-aircraft-law-enforc They are equipped with a variety of high tech equipments just as their rotor wing counterparts. The cabins are pressurized and allow for higher altitude flights. They can perform surveillance 5,000 ft to 6,000 ft and not be undetected. The average costs to maintain and operate a fixed wing aircraft per flight is about $54 for maintenance and $45 for fuel compared to a rotor wing aircraft. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/aullea07.pdf The Custom Border Patrolâ€™s P-3 AEW Orion airplane has a large fuel capacity of 60,000 lbs; flight time up to 10 to 13 hours, maximum range at low altitude is 2,500 NM and at high altitude 3,800 NM. Average cruising speed is 300 to 330 knots. It can carry a crew of 12 to 21 personnel. Normal crew consists of four systems operators, three pilots, two flight engineers and three maintenance crew members. This aircraft is integration with the E-2 Hawkeye aircraft radar system, which allows for it to see 200 NM in all directions. They coordinate and direct Navy and Coast Guard ship and aircrafts to the location of drug smuggling boats or planes. Primary mission are interdiction, over water operations, surveillance and homeland security. The use of this aircraft between the Jacksonville, Florida and the Texas office have contributed to the capture and seizure of 50 metric tons of drugs worth a roughly about 2 Billion dollars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqCtrB_FZvE Fixed wing light sport aircraft generally cost between $60,000 and $130,000 to purchase and $50 per hour to fuel and maintain. They can fly at wide range of speeds of 35 to 125 knots making them an excellent platform for performing a broad range of law enforcement missions. It can carry up to 500 lbs and travel twice as far as a helicopter could. http://nij.gov/nij/topics/law-enforcement/operations/aviation/types-of-aircraft.htm The disadvantages of fix winged aircrafts are they require a runway to take off and land, assembling of the flight crew, delay on taking off due to congestion at airport, unable to see the other side of the aircraft. They cannot monitor the tactical environment very well and or unable to alerts or observe things which the ground units are unable to detect. Unable to land and assist with foot pursuits, canâ€™t hover, the aircraft is not equipped with rescue winch.
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