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Lights, Cameras, and a Red Piece of Yarn

Today, Mary Morgan Frederich and I met with Columbus Division of Police Sgts Chris Bova (17th precinct) and Dana Hess (3rd precinct). They were both very gracious and supportive of our cause. We're going to return on Friday to speak to each of their roll calls.

Sgt Hess already knew ALLLLL about our group, thanks to our beloved Ofc Casuccio, who has been advocating hard on our behalf in many ways. Sgt Hess gave us names of several others who would be interested in speaking to us and told us to tell them she'd sent us.

After meeting with the CPD sergeants, we went to the Ohio State Highway Patrol aviation facility! Sgt David Sizemore invited us to come tour their facility and learn about their capabilities. He said we were welcome to bring others with us, and Jim, my daughter Ashlan, and my son Rohan happily took him up on that offer.

Their facility is immaculate, and it's obvious that Sgt Dave and Tpr Andy love their jobs and love educating the public about their work. They answered every possible question we put to them, and seemed to particularly enjoy educating Rohan about the science aspects of aviation. This thrilled him for many reasons, not the least of which is that, every Monday, his science teacher requires all her students to write how they applied science over the weekend.

We got to climb into the planes and the helicopters, learned about the cameras and lights they are equipped with (truly amazing), and even got to operate one of the cameras. These cameras are state of the art and have multiple modes that aid in capturing bad guys. Each one costs about a million dollars. The helicopter you see us sitting in in the pictures cost $6.5 million, fully equipped!

One thing that caught our attention and caused a great number of questions was what looked like a piece of red yarn hanging on the front of this $6.5 million helicopter. It genuinely looks like something you'd buy at Joanne's, but it's a legitimate piece of aviation equipment called a yaw line. It helps the pilot to determine if they're slipping or skidding, and it's regarded as the first piece of aviation equipment, dating back to the Wright Brothers.

The state of Ohio offers its services to any agency in the state that asks for assistance. As you can imagine, they assist in capturing a lot of bad people as well as help find missing persons. In order to become a pilot with them, you have to already have a pilot's license AND be a trooper. It's definitely a small pool of people who qualify and they stay very busy. When we arrived, one of the helicopters was taking off to support a local police department in some crime eradication efforts they'd planned. Lately, they'd been working on finding Shawn Christy, a fugitive from Pennsylvania who'd been linked to Ohio and was ultimately captured yesterday near Mansfield (OH).

Sgt Dave invited us to return, and we think it would be a fun place to bring our volunteers to on a group outing. Thoughts?

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