Lake County sheriff’s deputies training for chopper duty
NEWS-SUN STAFF REPORT December 19, 2012 7:18PM
Updated: January 21, 2013 3:53PM
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be more involved with the AIR-ONE Emergency Response Coalition.
The Sheriff’s Office began a part-time, six-month training program for six deputies to become ancillary members of AIR-ONE. Five of the deputies are training as tactical flight officers and one will act as ground support.
Their roles will include assisting the pilot, operating infrared cameras, spotlights and other specific law enforcement equipment such as radios and tactical maps.
AIR-ONE began operating in 2003 and was initially funded through private donations.
Now it is funded through grants and memorandums of understanding with various police and fire agencies. AIR-ONE, dispatched from the Winthrop Harbor Police Department, operates in northern Illinois, Stevenson County, Rockford, Winnebago County and Lake County.
AIR-ONE launches missions to assist in locating missing subjects, over watches for high risk search warrants, vehicle pursuits, fugitive apprehension, and officer rescues. This month, AIR-ONE helped locate a suicidal subject from Lake Villa.
In November, AIR-ONE conducted operational training with Northern Illinois Police Alarm System and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at the former Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake.
The scenario consisted of an officer down rescue using a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, also referred to as Huey, for the training scenario. The goal of the training was to provide air mobility and get emergency services in and out in a safe manner.
“AIR-ONE is extremely excited for this huge leaping capability and looks forward to being able to provide assistance to the citizens of Lake County,” said Clark Pollard, executive director for AIR-ONE.