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ASK A TROOPER: What is State Patrol's aviation program all about?

ASK A TROOPER by Trooper Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: Can you please write about the State Patrol aircraft, pilots, and what your program for aviation is all about? I find that very interesting. Thanks!

Answer: According to our current Chief Pilot, Lt. Matt Nelson, the Minnesota State Patrol currently has three helicopters. One helicopter is a Bell 407; one is a Bell Long Ranger L1 and the third is a Bell Long Ranger L4. We also have four Cessna -182's and a Beechcraft Queen Air. We currently have two pilots in the Brainerd district as well as six pilots and the Chief Pilot in St. Paul.

Our primary mission is searches - mostly looking for people that run from traffic stops, burglaries, shootings as well as lost or missing persons. The flight section of the State Patrol is involved with doing aerial photography for crashes, disaster response and search warrant intelligence. The flight section also does transport flights for bomb squads, chemical assessment teams, HAZMAT teams and VIP's. Most of the calls for service come from allied agencies. These would include local police departments and sheriff's departments that need airborne law enforcement assistance but do not have their own flight section.

The State Patrol also has a joint SRT (Special Response Team) -Aviation rescue team. The team can rappel to remote locations, do short haul of victims. This consists of hooking a rescuer and victim on a long line beneath the helicopter and transporting them to a location where we can meet an ambulance or aero-medical helicopter.

The flight section also has the capability to "microwave" a live picture from the camera on the helicopters and put it on the internet from anywhere in the state. With the webpage and the secure password, command centers of disasters can view a live picture and be better informed to make decisions.

Chief Pilot Nelson says that when the flight section is not too busy, they do still "work traffic" from the aircraft (checking vehicle speeds, aggressive driving) and having the ground trooper stop and cite the violator

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota, please send your questions to: Trooper Jesse Grabow - Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501. Or reach me at