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OSP Fish & Wildlife Division Receives Donated Aviation GPS Units for Aircraft Patrols
Sergeant Chris Culp
Chief Pilot
OSP Fish & Wildlife Division
(503) 580-2997

Photograph link valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police

The Oregon State Police (OSP) 'eye-in-the-sky' received a boost Thursday with a donation of the latest aviation portable GPS units for placement in OSP Fish & Wildlife Division aircraft.

On June 21, 2012, the OSP Fish & Wildlife Division received three portable Garmin Aera 796 GPS units purchased with donations from eight Oregon Hunters Association chapters and the Traditional Archers of Oregon (TAO). The GPS units were presented to OSP in Salem by Stu Crosby, OHA Capitol Chapter President, and a Garmin representative. OHA and TAO contributions totaled $5,300 to purchase the 3 units.

Sergeant Chris Culp, Chief Pilot of the OSP Fish & Wildlife Division, said the GPS units help OSP flights be safer and more effective during the day and night. OSP Fish & Wildlife Division currently operates three aircraft strategically stationed in Salem, Bend, and Baker City. The aviation program provides aerial law enforcement services in support of the Department's public safety mission and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) mission to manage our State's fish and wildlife resources.

"These units will replace smaller outdated equipment that was beginning to malfunction and were no longer supported by the manufacturer," said Culp. "We are very appreciative of the generosity and support from these organizations and their members who want their troopers working in the safest environment possible, protecting Oregon's fish and wildlife while being on the lookout for poachers from the air."

According to Culp, the new GPS units were designed to be used in aircraft and will provide pilots with accurate location information that can be relayed down to ground resources to help locate people and specific areas of interest. Additionally, the new units increase flying safety with up-to-date satellite weather reports and forecasts, have 3D Vision technology showing a behind-the-aircraft perspective of surrounding terrain in relative proximity to the aircraft, and a terrain database that warns the pilot if they are in danger of colliding with the ground or other terrain.

Crosby said OHA is interested in putting as much pressure as possible on poachers. "We know OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers have a lot of ground to cover, so having the latest technology available will help them cover more area while keeping an eye out from above," said Crosby.

Last year OSP aircraft flew a total of 1,222 hours, of which approximately 15 percent was in search of spotlighters and poachers.

A general breakdown of annual OSP flight time indicates:
  • Approximately 67 percent of flight time supports ODFW with activities such as wildlife telemetry, census counts on fishermen and animals, and herd composition.
  • Approximately 20 percent of flight time is directly tied to OSP Fish & Wildlife Division work such as night flights searching for illegal hunting activity, lookout for people violating road closures, and surveillance during and after hunting seasons.
  • Approximately 3 percent of flight time is spent in support of general law enforcement efforts including marijuana eradication, drug enforcement, and searches.
  • The remaining 10 percent is spent supporting patrol enforcement, pilot training, and aircraft maintenance.

Photograph - Oregon State Police

The Oregon State Police is a full-service public safety agency providing diverse services to the citizens of Oregon. Our mission is to enhance livability and safety by protecting the people, property, and natural resources of the state. To realize our vision and accomplish our mission our objectives are to BE THERE (be ready and able to respond to the increasing needs of Oregonians); PREVENT HARM (engage in vigilant enforcement of laws and regulations while making Oregon's roadways safe and reducing our citizen's exposure to crime, fire and disasters); and, SUPPORT OREGON COMMUNITIES (providing specialized services and assistance throughout Oregon in support of the statewide public safety infrastructure).

The primary responsibility of the Fish and Wildlife Division is enforcement of fish, wildlife, and commercial fishing laws and protection of Oregon's natural resources and the habitats upon which they depend. Fish and Wildlife Division officers are fully trained State Troopers who also enforce traffic, criminal, boating, livestock, and environmental protection laws, and responds to emergency incidents.