Pasadena police officer gets certified to fly helicopter

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PASADENA — The Pasadena Police Department welcomed a new helicopter pilot to its Air Operations Section last week, officials said.
Fourteen-year Pasadena Police Department veteran Officer Mark Mendenhall completed his Federal Aviation Administration certification Tuesday to become the department’s 25th helicopter pilot, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said in a written statement. The officer is no stranger to flying.
“In addition to his helicopter certification, Officer Mendenhall is one of the few members of this section to also hold a (fixed-wing) pilot’s license,” Sanchez said.
He has had multiple assignments with the Pasadena Police Department in the past, including the Special Enforcement Section and Counter Terrorism Section, the chief said. He also served as a team leader on the department’s SWAT Team.
“His professional and personal accomplishments are exceptional and warrant our congratulations,” Sanchez said.

PHOTO of a Pasadena police helicopter courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department.

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  • ole Bob

    So where is the picture of the smiling face of the newly minted rotary wing pilot?

    I am of the opinion that this is not a good idea to have sworn officers also operating aircraft. That is pilot’s work. Boiled down to a single easily remembered rule for pilots is “Fly the Airplane.” If you are doing anything else you are in violation of that simple rule.

    If the pilot is also being a peace officer on patrol, he is not devoting his full attention to flying the aircraft. This has led to disaster over and over. Pasadena needs to think about letting police do the policing and letting pilots operate the aircraft.

    If you are already a fixed wing pilot it only takes about 30 hours of training in a helicopter to be licensed. It only costs about seven thousand dollars.

    I would not be comfortable with a 30 hour pilot engaging in low altitude operation over a populated area.