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OCALA, FLORIDA - For the second year in a row, Marion County Florida’s Sherriff’s Office Aviation Unit hosted a safety training session for Law Enforcement, EMS, Fire Fighting, and Electronic News Gathering aviation units from around the state of Florida.  More than 70 attendees from 23 different organizations attended the event. The safety session focused on the United States National Grid (USNG), combatting complacency, and formation flying.  

“Our goal is to increase safety, awareness and combat complacency,” said Marion County Sheriff’s office Lieutenant Neal Dixon.  “It’s all about safety. The more we train together, learn the USNG and partner with other units, the safer our citizens will be.”

Dallas Avionics, FLIR, and PAG are founding corporate co-sponsors of the all-day training session and returned for the second year in a row. Dallas Avionics demonstrated and trained attendees on P25 compliant radios; FLIR showed the latest high definition cameras and equipment; and PAG discussed their parts, service and support capabilities.

“All of our companies are interested in helping every aviation unit utilize the latest training and technology to successfully complete their missions,” said Todd Enloe of Dallas Avionics. “Sponsoring this training is one way we can contribute to the continuous improvement and mission safety within our industry. We are thrilled to support all the efforts taking place here in Florida.”

Southeast Sales Manager for Airborne Products for FLIR Larry Krieg added, “We wanted to bring in the newest high definition cameras and components that work cohesively with the USNG.  At FLIR we believe in supporting the law enforcement industry.  We do our best to help sponsor events like the Marion County Sheriff’s office training that helps the men and women in law enforcement that serve our communities every day. We are committed to push the envelope of technology to help law enforcement save lives.”

President of Precision Aviation Services (PAS), a PAG company, Adrienne Robinson said, “We understand at PAG that aircraft downtime is not an option.  That is why the team of experts at our facilities throughout the world are equipped to expedite the maintenance and repair of aircraft and supply the parts needs of the law enforcement industry.  As a leader in MRO services and the premier maintenance facility in the Southeast both serving the law enforcement community, Precision Heliparts and PAS are proud to support the Marion County Safety Seminar for the second year in a row. Lieutenant Neil Dixon and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department are to be commended for their leadership in organizing this event on an important safety related aviation topics not just in their county but for the 13 surrounding counties in the region.”

During the training session attendees practiced a joint search and rescue efforts by identifying coordinates using the USNG.

“In the event of state emergencies, search and rescue efforts and other multi-county, multi-unit missions, using the USNG will enable us to improve communications and expand our efforts throughout the state. We can dial in more specific coordinates to cover a region with more pinpoint accuracy,” said Lt. Dixon.

About Marion County Sheriff’s Office

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office aviation unit was established in 1974 with the purchase of 3 Bell 47G surplus helicopters. These aircraft were used until early 1990′s when they were sold. In 1993 the Sheriff’s Office purchased a Hughes 369D helicopter to replace the existing ageing fleet. This aircraft served until 1997 when it was sold as surplus due to the acquisition of two Bell OH-58 helicopters from the US Military surplus program. The two OH-58 helicopters were purchased for $100.00 each and are still in service today. Through the Department of homeland security program we were able to purchase state of the art, up to date specialty equipment. This purchase included new FLIR’S, Downlink system, moving map system, spotlights, and Night vision goggles.  The primary mission of the aviation unit is to support the officers on the street using the special equipment mentioned above. Some of our primary duties are to assist with lost person searches, wanted subject’s searches, and surveillance type activities. The air unit is a force multiplier and can conduct a search in a specific area in a quarter of the time it would take ground units to search it on foot. Not only are we searching for lost subjects, wanted subjects, but we assist state and local fire services when the need arises.

The aviation unit is housed at the Ocala airport and currently has 5 full time flight personnel and one maintenance technician assigned to cover seven days a week, 24 hours a day. All full time members are certified Law Enforcement officers with a minimum of 2 years street patrol experience.

About Dallas Avionics

Dallas Avionics, Inc., was founded in 1973 as a Wholesale Distributor of Aircraft Electronics, Installation Supplies, and Avionics. Through years of change in the aviation industry, the ONE constant is our commitment to the highest standards of Business Ethics, Integrity, and Customer Service.

About FLIR Systems

FLIR Systems, Inc. is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of sensor systems that enhance perception and awareness. FLIR's advanced systems and components are used for a wide variety of thermal imaging, situational awareness, and security applications, including airborne and ground-based surveillance, condition monitoring, navigation, recreation, research and development, manufacturing process control, search and rescue, drug interdiction, transportation safety, border and maritime patrol, environmental monitoring, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) threat detection. For more information, visit FLIR's web site at www.FLIR.com.

About Precision Aviation Group (PAG)

Precision Aviation Group (PAG) is a leading provider of products and value-added services to the Worldwide Aerospace and Defense industry. With nine facilities in seven international cities with nearly 200,000 square feet of sales and service facilities in the United States, Canada, Singapore and Australia, PAG uses its distinct business units and customer focused business model to serve aviation customers through two business functions – Aviation Supply Chain and its trademarked Inventory Supported Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul – ISMRO®.

Captain Lonnie Blackburn of Ocala, Florida Fire Rescue teaches attendees about using the U.S. National Grid System

Air Units from 13 counties fly in for all day training at Marion County Sheriff’s office headquarters.

 

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