0600.00 Air Support Unit Operations

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
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0600.00, Air Support Unit Operations 


  • DIR 0635.10, Portland Police Bureau Response to Public Order Events


  • Aircraft: For the purpose of this directive, aircraft refers only to a manned aircraft.
  • Chief Pilot: A sworn member, and licensed pilot, who oversees the Air Support Unit.
  • Pilot: A member with a private pilot’s license who is designated by the Bureau to operate aircraft for the Air Support Unit. 
  • Tactical Flight Officer (TFO): A member onboard the aircraft during all missions to observe, communicate with members on the ground, and operate non-flight equipment.


1.       Aircraft are an essential tool to enhance the capabilities of Portland Police Bureau members in their mission to protect life, safety, property, and public order. The Air Support Unit (ASU) can assist in providing situational awareness, deescalating situations by allowing members time, space, and distance, and reducing the amount and frequency of force.

2.        As such the ASU’s role is to support the Patrol Division, as well as police activities such as pursuits, tactical apprehensions, searches for missing persons, and coordinating bureau resources during major incidents and public order events.

3.       The purpose of this directive is to establish the key functions of the ASU, and the permissible uses of aircraft in Bureau operations.


1.       Member Responsibilities.

1.1.    If ASU is operating any member may request their assistance for any call or task where ASU’s capabilities would be useful.

2.       Supervisor Responsibilities.

2.1.    On-Call Responses.

2.1.1.   When ASU is not already operating supervisors can request an on-call response through the Bureau of Emergency Communications. These requests should be made when reasonably necessary to support a major incident or protect members and the community.

2.2.    Preplanned Responses.

2.2.1.   When a supervisor has a preplanned need for ASU support, they should contact the chief pilot.   

3.       Air Support Unit Responsibilities.

3.1.     The Chief Pilot will update and maintain the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) manual and ensure that all members of the ASU are familiar with it.

3.2.    ASU will be available in an on-call capacity 24hrs a day, safety and logistics permitting.

3.3.    All ride-alongs will be with the approval of the Chief Pilot.

4.       Deployments.

4.1.   Air Support may be deployed to support a wide range of Bureau functions including but not limited to pursuits, criminal apprehensions, searches for missing or endangered people, and major incident support. As stated above, members have the discretion to request Air Support. However specific deployments have additional restrictions.

4.2.    Photography.

4.2.1.   Members may request a specific location be photographed only as part of a criminal investigation, planned apprehension, or warrant service.

4.3.    Public Order Events.   

4.3.1.   During public order events Air Support may assist in coordinating and directing police resources, but pursuant to ORS § 181A.250 shall not collect or maintain information about the political, religious, or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct.

4.4.    Emergency Operations Center.

4.4.1.   When an Emergency Operations Center has been activated the ASU will operate at direction of the Incident Commander.

Effective:        10/27/2023

Next Review:  10/27/2025

Upcoming and Recent Changes

0600.00 Aircraft Use

Effective Date

0600.00 Air Support Unit Operations

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