Will a police aviation unit push the envelope when it is an urgent call such as "police officer in danger?" Well, it is safe to say that most police pilots share the same sense of brotherhood and camaraderie that ground officers share. Their desire to help when a police officer is in trouble is very strong, perhaps almost overwhelming. The desire to help is so strong that it can influence their decisions and impair their judgment. In order to counter this urgency, many agencies have developed "hard" weather minimums that, regardless of a pilot's experience, they cannot even attempt to respond if the weather conditions are at or below these minimums. Some agencies have even implemented a strategy taken from the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) community. For years, the HEMS community has experienced a less-than-desirable safety record. Some studies of these accidents found a link between a flight crew's willingness to respond and the nature of the call. The studies found that a flight crew would push the limits for certain emotional calls, such as those involving children or police officers. In an effort to take the emotion out of the decision, the flight crew is asked if they could perform a flight under the current weather conditions without being given any other information. The decision to respond is made by objective and experienced thinking and decision making.
The decision to respond is always made in the best interest of safety. A police pilot's decision to respond or not is always based on their training and experience. Rest assured, if needed, and it is possible to fly safely, the airborne asset will be there!