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IVAN Air Support


is a part of The Imperial County Narcotics Task Force (ICNTF), which originated in 1973 to combat local and regional drug trafficking and gangs. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies take part in the task force by sharing information and intelligence from many sources. The task force is governed by a board of directors


chosen from participating agencies


that include the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office, the Imperial police department, Imperial County Probation, U.S. Border Patrol, California Highway Patrol,


Federal Drug Enforcement


Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations. ICNTF’s chairman of the


board is District Attorney Gilbert Otero, and its commander is Mike Loyd. The IVAN Air Support Unit formed in 2011, with the purchase of a Robinson R44 LE helicopter. Since the program’s establishment, its chief pilot has been Donald Wharton.


IVAN Air Support’s single Robinson R44 operates in a factory law enforcement (LE) configuration. Equipment includes a FLIR 8500 infrared camera and


Technisonic


TDFM 9100 Communication Package. A Spectrolab SX-15 Nightsun searchlight, a belly-mounted PA system, and cockpit-located LoJack system rounds out the LE layout. From the pilot and tactical flight officer’s point of view the most important accessory on the aircraft is its air conditioning. “We wouldn’t be able to operate on hot summer days and even at night, as air conditioning is a critical feature,” says one IVAN pilot.


40


May/June 2017


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