Helicopter crews from more than 30 law enforcement agencies statewide converged at the community field alongside the Rose Bowl Stadium for an Federal Aviation Administration emergency preparedness training exercise Wednesday, hosted by the Pasadena Police Department.
Said Pasadena Police Department spokesperson Lt. Bill Grisafe, “We have what we call emergency preparedness exercises for several California law enforcement air operation units every year. We bring them in to provide this training.”
According to Grisafe, air units from as far as Sacramento County to the north, and south to San Diego County, participated in the event, each air unit approaching the field from the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, and flying directly over the Rose Bowl Stadium, hovering, and then parking in rows, filling the field.
During past events helicopters from police, fire, military, emergency medical services, and electronic news gathering communities participated in the exercise without incident.
“There is always some type of training element to it for the pilots, and aircraft crews when they get here,” said Grisafe.
The annual training also gives diverse agencies the opportunity to compare protocols.
“We all do things a little bit different, but similar,” Lt. Mike Ingram of Pasadena’s Air Operations unit told ‘Behind The Badge.’ “So being able to talk the same language, work through our processes to make sure our plans are appropriate and safe is a good way for us to vet what we do. There are always lessons to be learned.”
This year Federal officials conducted basic FAA emergency training.
The 31st annual exercise had been postponed for two years in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We took the two years off,” added Grisafe, “and I think people were very excited about getting out and doing this training this year. The training is very well attended and appreciated by the several law enforcement air units throughout the state.”
Grisafe commended Lt. Brad May, the Pasadena Police Department’s air operations manager, as well as Officer Steve Thurston, who has run the training program for the last 30 years.