When you think of police, you likely think of officers on the streets. But crime fighting happens from the sky, too.
The Phoenix Police Air Unit consists of six helicopters and four planes. Police pilots are available around the clock, like street patrol officers. The police pilots just get a different view. And now, they have new technology called electronic flight bags, courtesy of the Phoenix Police Foundation.
“This is the iPad mini,” Police Officer Flight Instructor Patrick Dewell explained as he held an electronic flight bag up. “Basically it has ForeFlight on it and it also has our Electronic Bureau Manuals, or manuals, for flight.”
The iPad provides instant information that Officer Dewell said can help police pilots choose the best course of action in little to zero time — something that, in this line of work, can be the difference between life or death.
“It’s going to give us traffic advisories of other aircraft within close proximity of us,” Officer Dewell said. “It will tell us their altitude above us, altitude below us, and then also the distance.”
Before electronic flight bags, police pilots used textbooks to learn about the aircraft, how to operate it, and the terrain they were flying in. Now it’s all at their fingertips.
“You don’t have to go looking in paperback books,” Officer Dewell added. “You don’t have to go looking in shop manuals. Basically everything we have, we can take in the flight, and we can put it in the iPad instead of carrying a briefcase or a large backpack with extra weight.”
The electronic flight bags are just one more tool to ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency for officers in the sky.
Editor’s note: Information from the Phoenix Police Department.