Broward Sheriff's Office: Public Information Office

PIO Number: 21-8-24

Date: Aug. 23, 2021


The Broward Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit prides itself on providing an eagle eye in the sky to support a variety of critical law enforcement operations. Now, the unit has earned a national award to validate its efforts. 

The Law Enforcement Aviation Unit won the 2021 Teledyne FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) Pursuit Award, which is presented for the best tactical airborne FLIR operation during a vehicle pursuit. The case stemmed from an incident in November 2020 when the Aviation Unit spotted a man firing a gun at another man on a street in Lauderdale Lakes. From high above, BSO Pilot Carl Spear and Tactical Flight Officer Oscar Gonzalez captured the shooting on camera. However, their work was only beginning. 

Their eagle eye subsequently captured the suspected shooter handing the gun off to another man, who promptly tossed it aside. From high above, the Aviation Unit directed ground deputies to the man’s location. Even then, the Aviation Unit had more work to do. 

Pilot Spear and TFO Gonzalez continued tracking the suspected gunman’s car and directed deputies on the ground to the suspected shooter’s location. When the gunman exited his vehicle at a residence in Plantation, deputies took him into custody.  

From beginning to end, Spear and Gonzalez performed their jobs at a high level, providing deputies on the ground with critical, real-time information to arrest the suspect and conduct their investigation. Spear and Gonzalez’s hard work and calm, quick thinking earned BSO this coveted honor. 

The outstanding work in this case is not an isolated incident. BSO’s aircrew utilizes tactics and technology while enhancing the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement personnel on the ground. The Aviation Unit assists in a number of missions including: criminal search and apprehensions, search for missing/endangered persons, locating and recovering stolen vehicles and search and rescue operations in the Everglades and offshore, as well as the deployment and extraction of the SWAT Team, K-9 Unit and dive rescue personnel. The unit’s two aircraft are each outfitted with a FLIR system, night vision capabilities, Nightsun SX-16 searchlight, moving map system and Lojack ™.

BSO’s Aviation Unit consists of two sergeant pilots, five deputy sheriff pilots, six deputy sheriff tactical flight officers and three mechanics. 

To learn more about BSO’s Aviation Unit, click HERE.

Carey Codd/Sr. PIO