“Air1 to Car 61 – we have eyes on the suspect.”
The Regina Police Service Aerial Support Unit (ASU) took their first call for service on January 20, 2023. Since the unit has been airborne, ASU has assisted on nearly 500 police files and has had a direct impact on reducing victimization and holding offenders accountable in our community.
The primary role of the Aerial Support Unit is to support police on the ground. ASU provides real-time information for uniformed police officers on calls for service and plain clothes officers who are working ongoing investigations.
“With a unique vantage point, the Aerial Support Unit is able to address crimes in progress by quickly locating suspects and directing our Patrol units to make arrests.” said Deputy Chief Dean Rae. “When we can be more efficient in our work, we are able to direct resources to more calls for service and investigations throughout our city.”
The Aerial Support Unit is made up of six Regina Police Service officers; two pilots and four Tactical Flight Officers (TFO). The pilots are trained RPS members with commercial pilot licenses. The Tactical Flight Officers are responsible for monitoring the police radio and camera technology and communicating with police units on the ground. Each shift, the plane is operated by one pilot and one TFO.
The aircraft used by the ASU is a 2005 Cessna 182T outfitted with a wide angle, infrared camera. The aircraft, the camera, and additional tools and technology were purchased through a partnership with Provincial Civil Forfeiture and SGI. Civil Forfeiture provided approximately $600,000 and SGI provided $120,000.
Between January 20 and March 20, 2023, ASU assisted on nearly 500 police files resulting in:
97 Arrests Made
127 Charges Laid
34 Warrants Executed
14 Recovered Stolen Vehicles
41 Saved Trips for Ground Units
The unit is a key asset in criminal apprehension, but is also vital in locating missing or vulnerable persons and assisting on other non-criminal investigations that have an impact on personal and community safety. Additionally, ASU plays a critical role in police officer safety. Flight crews can guide ground units into a scene and provide information to responding officers about hidden dangers or variables.
“In just two months, the Aerial Support Unit has proven to be a valuable investment. We are proud of the positive impact on public safety and are committed to continuing our work to keep our community safe from the air and on the ground,” said Deputy Chief Rae.
The Regina Police Service thanks our community partners for their financial contributions and ongoing support for the Aerial Support Unit.
For more information on the RPS Aerial Support Unit, including video of their work, visit our website www.reginapolice.ca/ASU