In May of 2013, after nearly four years of successful testing and evaluation, the Ripon Police Department concluded the Powered-Parachute Testing & Evaluation Program.
RPD Aviation Unit Specifications, Highlights, Successes and Operating Area In July of 2009, the Ripon (Ca.) Police Department was the first Law Enforcement agency in the state of California to implement a designated aviation unit utilizing a Powered Parachute (PPC). The Ripon Police Department was one of the first departments in the United States to utilize this low cost aviation asset.
The Ripon Police Department has long been recognized as a technology leader in small and rural policing. The Ripon Police Department was selected to participate in an aviation test and evaluation project, sponsored by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Ripon Aviation Unit has been able to provide important data to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), through the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC). The Small, Rural, Tribal and Border Center (SRTBRC) has been instrumental in the Ripon Aviation Unit’s success.
The Powered Parachute (PPC) is extremely economical to operate. When fuel, maintenance, storage, and additional costs are added up, a helicopter is commonly thought to cost approximately $1,500 an hour to operate. The Ripon PPC costs approximately $30 an hour to operate. The aircraft does not need a traditional runway, and there is no need for a traditional aircraft hangar. The aircraft can easily be towed to a desired location, and it can be deployed and flown by one Officer/Pilot. A second Officer can be added onboard to act as a Tactical Flight Officer. The PPC is commonly regarded as one of the safest forms of flight.
The Ripon Aviation Unit has completed a variety of Law Enforcement missions including: Missing person cases/river rescues, suspect captures, crime scene location, aerial crime scene photography, major event security over-flights, gang/graffiti suppression, burglary suppression, auto theft suppression, critical infrastructure over-flights, narcotics investigations, and patrol support missions, just to name a few.
Ripon’s Aviation Unit has been utilized by allied Law Enforcement agencies to both apprehend criminals, and to educate the public about emerging Law Enforcement technologies.
Aviation Unit in the news:
August 12, 2012 – Press Release: Aviation Unit Celebrates 3 Years of Success
August 8, 2012 – Ripon PD Press Release: Police and Fire Units team up to locate missing person on Stanislaus River
July 11, 2012 – Ripon Record: Senior gets a closer look at “Air 1”
September 21, 2011 – Manteca Bulletin: Ripon fire, police comb river for possible drowning victim.
June 23, 2011 – Manteca Bulletin: Ripon PD part of less costly air units
May 11, 2011 – Manteca Bulletin: PD Back up in the air
July/August 2010 – AirBeat: Ripon’s Powered Parachute Makes Big Impact
May 15, 2010 – Manteca Bulletin: High flying cops cuts burglaries 64%
September 18, 2009 – Manteca Bulletin: Powered Parachute Rescue
December, 2009 – LawOfficer.com: Sky’s the Limit
November 6, 2009 – Manteca Bulletin: Air-1 Gets Credit for Arrest