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Fixed Wing Operations with Kings County California

Episode Description

Episode 68 of the Hangar Z podcast is live.

In this episode we sit down and chat with Sergeant pilot Jerry Hunter and Senior Deputy and TFO Eric Johnson from the Kings County Sheriff’s Department.

Prior to aviation Sgt. Hunter worked Patrol as a field training officer developing the next generation of patrol officers. He was a K9 handler, was a member of the SWAT team and was also assigned to gangs.

As a K9 handler he found that is agency had very limited access to air support so he spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing a proposal to develop an aviation program for the Kings County Sheriff’s Department. In 2014 his program was approved and their fixed wing program took off.

Being in close proximity to Naval Air Station Lemoore gave them access to a large pool of pilots willing to volunteer their time as pilots for the program when they weren’t flying F18’s or F35 fighter jets.

TFO Eric Johnson has also had a very successful career having the opportunity to workas a field training officer in patrol, he spent approximately 9 years as a K9 handler, he was a SWAT operator and also had a opportunity to work investigations. Eric became a TFO six years ago and worked the assignment as a collateral duty until the program became a full time program.

In this episode we talk about how they were able to successfully research, propose and launch their aviation program. We talk about the benefits of fixed wing aircraft in airborne law enforcement as well as a bunch of other rabbit holes we jumped into.

We would like to wish everyone a happy new year. I hope everyone had some time to spend with friends and family over the Christmas holiday and new years. I also hope you all had an opportunity to reflect and regroup for 2023.

I gladly waved goodbye to 2022 and have welcomed 2023 in with open arms. This year has already been fantastic and I only expect it to get better.

As I mentioned in the last episode we are huge proponents of training, education and networking. In addition to partnering with APSA we have also partnered with ECHO to promote the good work they are doing through their program. They are a non profit organization that created the FAST team which is Flight Crew Assistance and Support. Their mission is to provide assistance and support to flight crew members and their families involved in a critical incident. Services available are zero cost to the affected flight crew and organization. They have a deployable peer support team to assist on the ground after critical incidents. If you are a member of a flight crew and need assistance you can call or text the AIR FAST hotline 24/7 1-833-AIR-FAST. For web access follow this hyperlink to ECHO.

ECHO also puts in a fantastic Public Safety Aviation conference to facilitate training and networking. This year’s conference is in my favorite city San Diego October 2-4 2023. For more information go to echoflightcrew.org we hope to see you all there.

I would like to thank our sponsors Metro Aviation and SHOTOVER as well as our supporters on Patreon

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