Monday, August 2, 2010

Training Police Pilots

Training police department pilots was a good job and very rewarding.  As a rule most policemen do not accept outsiders.  Which I guess in my case, I could be considered one. So not only was I faced with the task of completing the training, I was also making an effort to be one of the guys.  The training I did for Kansas City involved the first six pilots. Each pilot was to become commercially rated, and three of these pilots would also become rated as Flight Instructors.  This amounted to 200 flight hours minimum for each pilot and 1200 hours for the entire program.  All of this to be done in six months time.  I was to also implement a plan to integrate the use of helicopters into the regular police department operations.  One other thing that happened that was unexpected, I was to be sworn in as a Special Officer with the department and I had to wear a badge and carry a gun while on duty.
I'm not a gun person and I am scared to  death of guns.  So I was like Barney Fife, and never loaded the gun with bullets.  I lived on the North side of the river and frequently drove over the Paseo bridge to meet up with some of the pilots at a temporary police heliport in the city.  One time when I was riding with one of the policeman, he stopped at the toll both and gave his police badge number and they waved him through without paying.  I thought this was neat, so later on, I tried to do the same thing.  The man at the toll booth did not believe me and made me pay.  Later that night while we were on a police patrol, I took control of the helicopter and proceeded to fly very low over the Paseo bridge.  When we approached the toll both, I turned on the P.A. system and siren, and yelled out my police badge number.  I'm sure they remembered me after that.  When the training was all done and everything was finished, it was decided that we should have a Tension Party.  I booked a place at the Airport Holiday Inn and we had a great time with dinner and celebrating.  At some point during the evening, it was decided that I should be thrown into the swimming pool at the hotel.  I had heard a rumor about this earlier and prepared by bringing along an extra suit.  Sure enough, I got tossed.  Little did anyone know, I was thrown in at the very shallow end of the pool where the water was less than a foot deep.  I landed on my head and received a very large gash in the top of my head.  I went into the men's room and changed into my dry suit and continued partying for a couple more hours.  My head was bleeding quite a bit, so I decided to stop at the hospital ER on my way home.  I had a hard time explaining that a bunch of policemen threw me into a shallow pool.  The young intern was not believing my story and shaved the top of my head before putting in several stitches.  The next day back on the job, I got a lot of ribbing about my partially bald head.  Next stop, I was moved out to California   I was doing more helicopter pilot flight training with several more local city police departments.  Now I was working for a company in Santa Monica, CA called World Associates.

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