Police Roll SWAT Teams, Launch Copters, But It’s All a Public Show

Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez at the Heliport event.A youngster enjoys a helicopter.Even police officers brought their families for the fun.Lt. Mike Ingram speaksLt. Mike Ingram our on the tarmacCommunity supporters with Chief Phillip L. SanchezPasadena City Manager Michael Beck lends a handPolice staged an action eventPasadena Police SWAT personnel and equipment were deployedA Police helicopter swoops above the crowdThe scene unfoldsChildren and adults watch the dramatic sceneOne boy expresses his excitement by flashing a thumbs upPasadena Air Operations personnel at Benedict Field

6:13 pm | June 29, 2013


At the annual Pasadena Police Department Air Operations annual Open House on Saturday, June 29 families braved the heat to witness SWAT and K-9 demonstrations, climb inside police helicopters and meet the crews that fly overhead.

“Last year we came on Jack’s birthday and he has been talking for weeks about how excited he was to come see the helicopters again,” Justin Bowland said, father of three-year-old Jack.

This is the one day a year the Air Operations opens their doors and allow for interactions with police officers under positive conditions with the opportunity to ask questions about the air squad or helicopters.

“It is really a chance for the community to get to know their police officers and recognize that we are ordinary people and we are here to help,” Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez said.

The thrilling demonstrations also appeal to the kids and give them a sense of what it could be like to be a public safety officer.

“For the kids, we have a lot of employment opportunities and this gives them a chance to see things that may spark an interest for them to later in life to want to be a policeman, a pilot, a fireman, or something public service related and public safety in particular,” Lt. Mike Ingram said, who encouraged questions from the public.

At the event kids could get finger printed, witness crime scene investigation, enjoy the police motorcycle contest, and see the mobile command post.

“It is fun for us to be able to share with people because a lot of times we are 500-1,000 feet over doing circles and people are wondering why we are making all that noise,” Ingram said.

Ingram explained how the air squad helicopter units provide an eye in they sky to help control and coordinate ground efforts to keep the community safe.

“Helicopters are our patrol cars, when we go on patrol we like to go out and look for things before they happen and when things do happen we can respond rapidly, we can get anywhere in the city within thirty to sixty seconds. We can get trained police officers to assess the situation and act as a control and command platform,” Ingram said.

The safety of Pasadena relies heavily on the support of the Air Operations team who can spot problems before they happen and prevent a significant amount of crime.

“We can see ten times what the officers on the ground can. Today, with the resources being cut we can assist and be a force multiplier to allow us to do more with less people,” Ingram said.

Pasadena Air Services has been serving the San Gabriel Valley for forty-three years. Their experience allows them to pave the way in innovations for air squads in other cities. This year they were recognized for having the SWAT team of the year in California.

“At the end of the day, reality is if there is a Pasadena police officer in the air and there is an emergency we can respond and start to mitigate that crime or that emergency within a minute,” Chief Sanchez said.