RPS officially launches Aerial Support Unit

Over two months since the Regina Police Services’ Aerial Support Unit (ASU) took to the Regina skies for the first time, it saw its official launch.

The ASU took their first call for service on January 20. Since the unit has been airborne, it has assistance on nearly 500 police files, which has had a direct impact on reducing victimization and holding offenders accountable in our community.

Its assistance with the nearly 500 files has led to the following:

  • 97 Arrests Made
  • 127 Charges Laid
  • 34 Warrants Executed
  • 14 Recovered Stolen Vehicles
  • 41 Saved Trips for Ground Units

The ASU is made up of six Regina Police Service officers, two pilots, and four Tactical Flight Officers, with the primary role of supporting police on the ground. It provides real-time information for uniformed police officers on calls for service and plainclothes officers who are working on ongoing investigations.

Deputy Chief Dean Rae said the ASU can address crimes in progress by quickly locating suspects and directing their patrol units to make arrests.

“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.”

Rae added that the Aerial Support Unit has proven to be a valuable investment in just two months.

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.

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said the ASU’s impact on the community have been nothing but positive.

“I can tell you that it has sped up the time it takes us to investigate and make an arrest. Absolutely has reduced the amount of force that we use, exponetionailly. It’s been outstanding,” he said. “The plane has been very beneficial; community members are raving about response times and the ability to hold people accountable, and we’ve had people knocking on our doors from outside agencies. I think there is going to be a strong value for our air support unit.”

Bray added one of the biggest highlights for him is that officers are using less force.

“Our use of force is way down because we aren’t relying on a K9 dog blindly tracking through backyards and then coming upon the suspect,” he said. “We are able to say he or she is that backyard, and then we can all them out and make the arrest without having to make the arrest without having to use force.”

The unit is also 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.

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