Episode 117- Matt Szluka and the Illinois State Police Aviation Program Part II
December 12, 2023 | Hosted By: Jon Gray
Welcome to episode 117 of The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts.
In this three part series, host Jon Gray sits down with Matt Szluka. Szluka is currently employed as a state trooper and fixed-wing aircraft pilot with the Illinois State Police in the Chicagoland area.
Szluka was born and raised in the Chicago area, and has lived in the city his entire life. Prior to joining the ISP Air Operations Bureau as a pilot, Szluka was assigned as a K-9 handler to the ISP Statewide Anti-Violence Enforcement Team and the District 15 Criminal Patrol Team.
Outside his law enforcement duties, Szluka works part-time as an instructor at a local college teaching aviation classes to aspiring pilots.
Szluka has 12 years of law enforcement experience at three different police departments in Chicago.
Outside of being a Pilot and K-9 Handler, Szluka has experience as a member of the ISP Chicago Region Crowd Control Team, K-9 Instructor, K-9 Crowd Control Instructor, Field Training Officer and Evidence Technician.
Before Szluka entered law enforcement he was an airline captain at a large regional airline that served cities across North America and the Bahamas.
During his time in the airlines, Szluka was a human factors facilitator and crew resource management instructor.
Szluka received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois in Aviation Human Factors, which spurred his passion for human interaction with advanced technologies, particularly as it relates to aviation.
Szluka now focuses his efforts on supporting his fellow brothers and sisters on the ground utilizing aircraft and other technologies for criminal enforcement, especially in the City of Chicago, a place he has proudly called home for 42 years.
In part two of this three-part series, Szluka talks about his time working as an interdiction trooper with his K9 partner and how that helped to shape the tactics he is employing in aviation.
Szluka talks about how LPR technology helped him and the regional troopers recover a kidnapped 15 year old girl.
Szluka talks at length about some of the technology his agency is utilizing, which includes license plate reading technology to make their aviation program a proactive airborne interdiction type unit.
He also talks about the importance of stat keeping in aviation programs.