Houston was the site of the 38th Annual ALEA Conference and Exposition. The two-day event drew 1,143 law enforcement aviators from around the globe, many of whom come every year for classes, workshops and access to the industry’s leading manufactures of aircraft, aviation products and support services.
In addition to the 57 different seminars and classes covering a range of subjects from aviation unit start-up to the deployment of deadly force from the air, attendees were able to inspect police aircraft on static display and, in the case of a few police and sheriff agencies, take delivery of new helicopters.
"It’s very vital to have the chance to put your hands on new items to decide what you want, and to network. Networking is vital," said attendee Tim McDonald, chief deputy and chief pilot with the Dale County Sheriff’s Office in Ozark, Ala.
ALEA is a non-profit membership organization that supports and encourages the use of aircraft in law enforcement. It was founded in 1968 and boasts more than 3,500 sworn and civilian members, primarily in the U.S., but also from around the world.
The next ALEA conference is scheduled for July 22-25, 2009 in Savannah, Ga. The event will travel to Tucson, Ariz. for 2010.