“Going out on a call in a helicopter is just like going out in a squad car. But we can get to the scene a lot quicker through the air.”
That’s how Darren Rigsby, a pilot and officer with the Mesa Police Department Aviation Section, described how his unit uses aircraft in law enforcement. Rigsby was guest speaker at the Sun Lakes Aero club (SLAC) gathering March 16 at the Sun Lakes Country Club.
“Helicopters are known to deter crime,” he said. “Our average time for responding to a scene is 54 seconds. We often land on a street to help a person in distress.”
“Our helicopters can take the place of five to eight officers in a search and we can clear a large area near a crime scene much more quickly.”
The Mesa Police Aviation Unit is based at Falcon Field in Mesa. The unit’s helicopters average nearly eight flight hours per day, seven days per week, and answer an average of 18 calls each day. The unit has assisted in recovering nearly $18 million in stolen property and in locating more than 600 missing persons, mostly children.
SLAC meets the third Monday November through April at the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room. The public is invited to attend all gatherings. For additional information contact Bob Walch at 895-8869 or Gary Vacin at 298-7017.