Portland, Ore. – Their “Eye in the Sky” helped Portland Police respond to 14 different 911 calls in a matter of seven hours, ending with ten suspects in handcuffs. It all happened Thursday night. The bureau’s Air Support Unit helped on four cases win which suspects were trying to run away from police, and it helped recover three stolen cars.
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Portland Police Bureau’s Air Support Unit (ASU) had a busy shift on Thursday overnight, covering ground units on over 14 calls and assisting with 10 arrests.
On Thursday, March 5, 2020, ASU flew a shift of a little more than 7 hours in the evening. In all, the ASU airplane Pilot and Tactical Flight Officer assisted in providing support for four elude cases, including 8 custodies and 3 recovered stolen cars, a robbery custody, and an arrest on an attempted Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle case.
Video clips of one of the Attempt to Elude cases are available. It began at 11:05p.m. when a Traffic Division officer measured a speeding vehicle on southbound I-205 at Northeast Airport Way. The vehicle was measured going 89 miles per hour but the officer observed the driver accelerate to an even greater speed after he passed the motorcycle officer. Due to the driver’s extremely dangerous actions, the traffic officer did not pursue.
ASU began following the vehicle, which even without any ground units in sight was speeding, running traffic lights, and nearly struck other road users (see video). The suspect driver and a passenger jumped out of the vehicle in the area of Southeast 167th Avenue and Southeast Market Street and ran into a neighborhood. With the assistance of ASU, numerous perimeter officers, and a K9 unit, officers located and arrested Ramon Rodarte Jr, 24, of Gresham (photo). He was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Attempting to Elude by Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Attempting to Elude on Foot, and Driving While Suspended or Revoked (Misdemeanor level).
The Air Support Unit, which is part of the Tactical Operations Division, provides observation, communication with ground units, geographical knowledge, decision making, and tactical knowledge, coordination of resources, crew coordination, and ability with technical equipment such as FLIR, moving map, Lojack, and aircraft control. Learn more about the Air Support Unit here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/250326 .