safety found here, Huntington Beach is a very desirable place to
It is by no mistake that I find myself living here. You see, I am
a sheriff's deputy who grew up in Los Angeles County, where
helicopters fly routinely at altitudes of 300 to 400 feet. I also
worked in the county jails and had the opportunity to discuss with
criminals the place they least enjoyed committing crime. It was right
here in Huntington Beach.
It was because the citizens have the reputation for calling the
police immediately over the most seemingly minute details, and the
police have a zero tolerance on crime philosophy when they are
summoned. There is also credit to the most efficiently run air unit
in the country (according to a DMG audit) that, if flying, greatly
reduces the likelihood of escape.
I had the privilege of meeting a pilot in line at Starbucks and
learned that the unit had been in existence since 1968. Each pilot is
a police officer and has a commercial helicopter license.
In 2001, the unit wrote more than 400 traffic tickets to traffic
violators and witnessed another 2,000 where no ground officer was
available to write one. They were involved in 231 felony and 397 misdemeanor arrests. They also responded to more than 6,047 calls for
service and canceled 721 units responding to calls where an officer
was no longer needed.
I also learned that they utilize infrared at night to that allows
them to check businesses, schools, parks, wetlands for seeping oil
wells, participate in scientific studies of beach bacteria, etc. They
also communicate with Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and Los
Alamitos Army airfield in matters related to homeland security.
The "guidelines" in Fick's articles are plain silly. If the
helicopter and ground units could only work on apprehending a suspect
for five minutes, every crook would be looking at their watches, and
so would the police, who should be looking for the suspect.
In response to the places Rento lived in the past, guess what?
Miami, Boston, San Diego, and Los Angeles all have air units that do