The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit was awarded 3rd place in the FLIR Vision Awards presented at the 2013 Airborne Law Enforcement Association annual conference in Orlando.

The FLIR Vision Awards are presented annually to airborne law enforcement teams with the best video of a rescue, apprehension or surveillance mission.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office video was chosen from more than 40 entries and showed the pursuit and capture of five suspects in a jewelry store robbery on November 6, 2012. The footage showed the suspects scatter near PGT and I-75 after they bailed from their vehicle. The Air-1 crew safely guided deputies toward the suspects who were hiding in the lake and warn them of potential hazards, including alligators.

The crew that night was Deputy/Pilot Dave Bouffard and Deputy/Pilot Brent Wineka. The Aviation Unit includes a total of four Pilots and seven Tactical Flight Officers.

As part of the award, a $1,000 donation is made on behalf of the Aviation Unit to the charitable organization of its choice, which is the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches.