team create a ““birds-eye”” observation capability in order to watch large areas populated with multiple roving groups. This capability was made all the more important during the FTAA by the vast land and sea areas included in and adjacent to the Summit site as well as the multiple commercial districts that provided attractive targets to those with violent intentions. In the City of Miami, there is no better way to establish this scope of vision than through the use of police helicopters. The Miami Police Department presently does not have its own helicopter. However, the Department’’s former Aviation Unit commander is still a supervisor in the Department’’s Critical Incident Management Unit and he remains an active and skilled pilot. Based on his expertise and
his familiarity with the City, this supervisor was designated to serve as the Air Operations Commander for the FTAA event. His first assignment was to line up equipment and personnel from our FTAA law enforcement partners. As with every request for assistance made of these partners, the response was overwhelming. In August 2003, the Air Operations Commander sent a letter requesting assistance from all the law enforcement agencies in South Florida that possess active aviation capabilities. A total of 13 Federal, State and Local agencies responded with offers to participate in the FTAA event. From this group, 12 helicopters and four airplanes directly participated in policing the FTAA event and the surrounding area. By staggering the assignment of these assets, at least one helicopter was available at all critical times during the event. Another four helicopters and one airplane were placed on standby in the event of emergencies. The Air Operations Commander and the Air Support team met several times in each month leading up to the FTAA event. The Air Command established a plan and schedule by which the optimum air coverage could be provided to the FTAA event. This required close coordination with the overall FTAA Operational Commander to determine the key strategic times and locations requiring air support. Then a schedule had to be devised to ensure that all venues and events had appropriate coverage. Strict compliance was required from all partners to ensure mission success and aviation safety. Since many of the pilots were not geographically familiar with the City, a plan had to be devised to help them determine their bearings. Prior to the air familiarization flights, the FTAA Operational Command produced a laminated map of the FTAA site and surrounding areas. Major landmarks and structures were posted on the map to help the pilots orient themselves. The flight observers in the helicopters were able to use these maps in flight to identify landmarks near the locations where the aircraft were needed.
- Fall '17
- marcia powell
- Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida, FTAA, Miami Police Department