Aviation Unit

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Aviation News Update

Flight Training of Pilot Trainee Richard Estes

Officer Richard Estes, from the Patrol Division, was selected as an Observer/Pilot Trainee in 2005.

Flight Training of Pilot Trainee Zachary Watson

Officer Zachary Watson was selected as an Observer/Pilot Trainee in 2004, to replace Officer Steve Sdringola who has returned to the Patrol Division. 

RPD Aviation Receives ALEA’s Highest Honor

Police Officer Pilot Don Miskulin and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Werblun were presented with the Robert L. Cormier Memorial Award at the Airborne Law Enforcement Association’s annual conference in Tucson, Arizona this past July.  The Cormier Award is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding achievement in the advancement of aircraft in public use.  Past recipients have included governors, senators, chiefs of police and sheriffs.  Miskulin and Werblun were recognized for founding and continuing to coordinate the annual “Cops for Kids Fly-In” which benefits children fighting cancer at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.  The award is a perpetual trophy sponsored by Bell Textron Helicopters and the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, an international organization.  The award is on display at Riverside City Hall.

“Cops for Kids Fly-In”

November 5th, 2002 was the date of the Fourth Annual “Cops for Kids Fly-In” at San Bernardino International Airport.  The event was once again a huge success with officers and deputies from San Joaquin County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles P.D., Ontario P.D., El Monte P.D., Fontana P.D., California Highway Patrol Aviation Fullerton and Barstow flying in hundreds of toys.  From the airport we caravanned to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital.  We visited and delivered toys to all of the children in the hospital.  We left the hospital with enough extra toys to stock all of their playrooms and a supply for children who will be admitted for months to come.

This was the first year that we were able to land a helicopter at the hospital.  Children who were ambulatory were able to come outside to watch it land, sit in it, and ask the pilot questions.  The parents and hospital staff all commented that this event has become the highlight of the year for the hospital.  The kids appreciated the loot but seemed to enjoy talking to “real cops” even more.  It was obvious that these courageous kids touched every officer and deputy.

Our celebrity guest this year was “Cops for Kids Fly-In” inspiration Megan Colley.  Megan surprised us all with her arrival.  She is the daughter of Retired Monterey Park Police Sergeant Gary Colley who accompanied her.  Four years ago at 9 years old, Megan was a patient at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital battling non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  She had lost all of her hair to chemotherapy and wanted some police aviation unit hats for her and her friends to cover their bald heads.  Her dad asked and the cops delivered.  A fly-in was organized and the response was overwhelming.  Four fly-ins later, “Cops for Kids” is a non-profit organization with planned annual events.  Megan is cured, she has long beautiful hair, and dad tells us that she has become a terrific teenager.

We finished the day back at the airport with a luncheon provided by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Special thanks to all who attended including RPD’s Motor Officers, the local press, and Bill Ringer of Bell Helicopters. 

Thanks to our generous sponsors; Riverside Police Officers Association, Riverside Sheriff’s Association, and Bell Helicopters.

For information about next year's fly-in, contact Don Miskulin at (909)351-6118. Feel free to start a toy collection and get involved.

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