Mesa Police Department Aviation Section began as a fixed-wing
only program in 1986 on a part-time basis. During the initial
startup of the Aviation Section, qualified rated pilots from
within the department supplied transportation and surveillance
services. Today the Aviation Section utilizes Certificated Flight
Instructors within the unit to train new pilot candidates and
maintain pilot currencies and proficiency checks in accordance
with FAA regulations.
In January of 1994 the department leased two McDonnell
Douglas 500E turbine helicopters and the Aviation Section began
full-time operations. The helicopters were eventually purchased
by the department. A third MD500E helicopter was added to the
fleet in May 2003. Since 1994, the section has flown nearly 50,000
Accident/Incident free flight hours. This represents the
Aviation Section's commitment to enhanced safety, efficiency,
and service to patrol, fire personnel and the citizens of Mesa.
Those hours were spent supporting every facet of law
enforcement, as well as the aviation needs of other city departments.
Currently the Section operates two fixed-wing aircraft: a
Cessna 172N Skyhawk and a Cessna P210 Centurion. The Cessna
Centurion's primary roles are to provide aerial surveillance, conduct
and various transport services. The Cessna
172N Skyhawk is utilized for primary pilot training, currency and patrol
functions, when needed.
Mesa Police helicopters average
nearly 8 flight hours per day,
seven days per week, and answers an average of 18 calls each
day. Each year the helicopter proves to be an invaluable law
enforcement tool, and its average response time to a scene is 54
seconds. The Aviation
Section, since employing the helicopter, has assisted in
recovering nearly $18,000,000 in stolen property and in locating
over 600 missing persons (most of whom have been lost
The helicopter is flown at an elevation of approximately 500
to 700 feet AGL (above ground level). This makes it easily
visible to everyone. The onboard public address system, the
searchlight and the infrared camera system are only used during investigations of criminal
activity or while searching for missing persons. The Mesa Police
Department Aviation Section understands the importance of noise
control. Therefore, if the helicopter is in your area, there is
a valid reason for it to be there. The sections responds individually to
every call we receive from private citizens regarding the
presence of the helicopter.
Today, the Aviation Section is based at Mesa's
Falcon Field Airport. It consists of eight full-time
helicopter pilots, who are also proficient Tactical Flight
Officers, seven part-time Tactical Flight Officers (all of whom
are Mesa Police officers), two mechanics and one civilian
Aviation Administrator. Six of the Aviation Section's helicopter
pilots are also licensed fixed-wing pilots. Both rotor- and
fixed-wing programs are continuously being improved with safety
and efficiency in mind.
The Aviation Section continues to work toward the overall
Mesa Police Department goal of excellence within the
community and a dedication to deliver the best possible service
to its citizens.
Employment with Mesa's Aviation
To become a member of the Aviation Section you
must first become a Mesa Police Officer. After you have been a
patrol officer for a minimum of three years and there is a
position posted for a member in the Aviation Section you will be
eligible to apply for the position.
If you would like more information regarding the
application and hiring process for a Mesa Police Officer, you
can call the Mesa Police Department
Resources at (480) 644-2816.
Thank you for your interest in one of Mesa's
finest law enforcement tools.