December 4, 2014 --
The Georgia State Patrol’s, Aviation Division and emergency management officials from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany conducted a joint training exercise, here, Tuesday.
In conjunction with other agencies, the GSP Aviation Division is partnering with MCLB Albany to give air support, which gives base law enforcement a overhead vantage point in a number of emergency situations.
Steve Dancer, emergency operations manager, MCLB Albany, along with other personnel from the installation’s Anti-Terrorism Office and MCPD were passengers in a helicopter, which landed on Schmid Field, in front of Building 3500.
“(We) were able to capture a bird's eye view of the installation while the GSP AD pilot was able to become oriented to the (base) and its landing zones,” Dancer said. “The GSP AD operates one of its fifteen aircraft out of the Albany Airport, which is one of six locations around the state (from which) air support is provided”.
Dancer said, the GSP AD operates on a 24/7 basis to provide not only air support to the GSP but also to support the public safety interest for the citizens of Georgia.
“If requested, the GSP AD can provide a multitude of support operations to MCLB Albany, including aviation search and rescue and manhunt operations by utilizing their forward- looking, infra-red camera; provide (us) damage assessments in the wake of natural disasters (if or) when some areas of the installation are inaccessible; provide fire suppression operations as well as medical evacuations just to name a few,” according to Dancer.
Georgia State Trooper/helicopter pilot, Sgt. Wayne Wiley, GSP, Aviation Division, commented on the training.
“The purpose of the today’s fly-over is to prepare for a training, which is scheduled for April 2015,” Wiley said.
The GSP will assist MCLB Albany in the Emergency Operations Center’s efforts to provide optimum security to the installation during actual emergency incidents as well as drills.
Wiley gave other examples of the aerial support the GSP would provide to the base and to EOC personnel.
“If, for example, there was an active shooter incident, we would (fly-over) videoing the area,” he said. “We would then download (our) video footage to (EOC staff) so they could see what’s going on from the air if they’ve got a building contained.”
Wiley said the air support assistance they provide could be significant for surveillance of specific areas on the base for added safety as well as for apprehending suspects.
“We mainly serve as a platform for the agency we’re working with so that they can get a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening on the ground,” the trooper continued. “For example, you may have the building surrounded and we may see something from the air you may not see from the ground.”
According to Wiley, Tuesday’s training was a pre-planning activity held in order to establish longitudes, latitudes and landing zones for the chopper in the event of an actual incident.
Sean Lamonzs, deputy police chief, Marine Corps Police Department, MCLB Albany, discussed the advantages of the air support to the base’s existing emergency plan.
“Anytime that we have a natural, man-made disaster, having the ability to partner with the local authorities and having the advantage of an aerial review and overview of the installation lends huge dividends to us as far as identifying the most obvious threats to (MCLB Albany) and how to strategically place our assets to mitigate the threats.”
Lamonzs stressed the importance of collaborating with other agencies for assistance in providing the maximum level of security to MCLB Albany’s personnel and its tenant commands.
“This is an ongoing process; the partnership with the local authorities and local agencies position us and prepare us in the event we do have an incident of a broad spectrum.