Joe's Job: VBPD Helo Unit

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by Joe Flanagan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 5:31 PM

There are hundreds of officers in the Virginia Beach Police Department, but only a few qualify for the helo unit.

Standard operating procedure includes a flight crew consisting of a pilot/co-pilot or a pilot and Tactical Flight Officer.

Our 206B3 Jetranger is one of two helicopters on the force.  The other is a 407 Bell.

Master Police Officer Glenn Sostak walked me around pre-flight inspections.

My job was flight officer.  In the front seat I need to operate the camera which hangs underneath the helo. 

Anytime, day or night, six Virginia Beach Police officers rotate duty to fly.  Eyes in the sky.

"We monitor the one specific channel, which is the main channel, but we scan the other channels in case we hear something we can immediately start heading that way," Sostak explained.

Officer Sosak says the helo unit deters crime.

"Because we can see.  We can see in the dark very easily.  You can run but sometimes you can't always hide," added Sostak

They have quite a list of success stories, including a suspect speeding away in a car at 100 mph toward the Eastern Shore.

"We were able to go across the Bridge-Tunnel and stay with the vehicle and ended up with State Police stopping him over by Accomack County," said Master Police Officer Henry Alvarez.

I had to ask if I would cut it.

"I'm ready to bring out the contract. He did awesome," Sostak said with a big smile.
 

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