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Aerial law enforcement tactics highlighted at San Bernardino fly-in

By Scott Dworkin | May 29, 2023

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 2 seconds.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit recently hosted a fly-in at its hangar at the San Bernardino Airport on May 17, 2023.

Numerous local law enforcement, fire, and search-and-rescue (SAR) aviation units from around the region attended the event, including those from Ontario, Riverside, Los Angeles, Pomona, and Fontana, to name a few. The fly-in provided the units an opportunity to share tips on safety and tactics between agencies, as well as showcase the various types of assets the units use in their areas of operations. 

A number of law enforcement, fire, and search-and-rescue aviation units from California attended the fly-in event at the San Bernardino Airport to share tips on safety and tactics between agencies. Scott Dworkin Photo

Jon Gray from The Hangar Z Podcast, who helped coordinate the event, was also in the attendance, along with various vendors who used the event to share their company’s products. In particular, notable guests at the fly-in included representatives from Bell, and former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) pilot Jack Schonely.   

Bell brought a factory fresh 429, built just a few months ago in Canada. The company flew numerous demo flights throughout the afternoon, demonstrating the aircraft’s exceptional flight handling characteristics, newest safety features, and the aircraft’s incorporation of the latest technology. The goal of Bell’s visit was to share with these units the capabilities of the 429 in law, fire, and SAR missions.

Schonely has given lectures and seminars on suspect tactics, perimeter containment, search tactics, and air crew tactics to various law enforcement agencies around the world. He’s also a regular contributor to Vertical Valor magazine.

At the event, Schonely spoke about recent information shared between law enforcement agencies regarding the methods used by suspects to avoid capture. He also reviewed recent and effective tactics used by law enforcement — both aviation and ground units — to capture these suspects. Attendees can then share the information they gain at events like this back at their units to achieve better outcomes.  

“When a law enforcement aviation unit as accomplished as San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department asks you to instruct at their fly-in, the answer is immediately ‘when and where,’ ” Schonely said. “I was honored to be invited to instruct for a few hours, as well as visit with so many aircrews from across California. It was simply a great day.”

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