Pilot Jeff Barbao and flight officer Jonathon Pierce have won the fixed wing operator of the year award sponsored by aircraft-maker GippsAero for the impact of their work.
Barbao and Pierce are assigned to the CHP Valley Division air unit based in Auburn. The division covers an area 160 miles in length and 130 miles wide, including Sacramento, Stockton and South Lake Tahoe.
The officers, who routinely work the nightshift together, fly Cessna T206H aircraft equipped with a camera that has infrared capabilities. Accomplishments in 2010 when they flew 600 hours:
-- 148 arrests
-- 1,852 assists to the public
-- 995 speed enforcement details
-- 5 LoJack stolen vehicle finds
-- 15 pursuits
-- 7 Driving Under the Influence arrests
-- 4 arrests for shining a laser at an aircraft
-- 237 allied agency assists
A CHP press release called attention to a particular call on April 17, 2010 when Barbao and Pierce watched shooting suspects flee on foot through a parking lot out of sight of ground units.
"The aircraft remained inconspicuous at an altitude of over 6,500 feet and over 2 miles offset horizontally from the scene," stated the release.
When the suspects fled, one of them tossed a bag with guns used in the shooting. The guns were later recovered thanks to the maneuvering of the airplane and the use of the onboard camera, which allowed them to see the weapons being thrown.
Officer Pierce continued to announce to others the location of the suspects. Eventually, they were captured when the aerial officers directed officers on the ground to a Dumpster where the suspects were hidden.