Pilots Deputized to Aid Iron County Sheriff’s Office

Published: April 01, 2015 | Author: Alex Homer | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU pilots deputized as volunteers with Cedar City Police DepartmentOn March 23, pilots from Upper Limit Aviation (ULA) partnered with Southern Utah University and were sworn in as deputies at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’ve been volunteering for the Iron County Sheriff’s department and Cedar City Police Department since we’ve been here,” said Mike Mower, chief flight instructor for SUU aviation. “By being deputized, it gives us additional flexibility that we didn’t have before.”

The 13 new deputies, as well as the use of up to 35 aircrafts, all comes as no cost to the taxpayer, according to Mower, as the pilots’ time has been donated in the past and will continue to be donated going forward.

One of the biggest advantages of being deputized is a peace of mind for many of the pilots, Mower stated. Prior to being deputized, SUU pilots were not able to land to help save someone without risking a possible violation. James Kofford, a new deputy and check instructor at ULA, said the new change helps pilots avoid morally stressful decisions.

“If you were able to find someone out on a search and rescue, it was frustrating knowing that they could be hungry or injured,” Kofford explained. “We wouldn’t have been able to land and help them in line with the regulations. It’s nice to not have to worry about that decision anymore and we can just help them.”

Chelsea Tugaw, one of the two women deputies sworn in, echoed the sentiment that being a deputy would help to relieve stress from an already stressful situation. Tugaw is an assistant chief within SUU’s aviation program and where she started as a student in 2010, and said she loves the atmosphere of the program.

“It’s great, I love working with guys,” Tugaw said. “It’s a really fun environment.”

Looking toward the future, SUU’s extension of ULA is hoping to have around 13 pilots who are deputized in the program at all times as the current pilots cycle out. Mower said this will benefit the program as it will always be ready for an emergency with a deputy.

“We’ve defined the regulations that we can operate under by going this direction,” Mower said.

The following individuals were sworn in as Iron County Sheriff Deputies: Michael Mower, Richard Cannon, Daniel Laguna, Christopher Laguna, Scott Banning, Kent Daniels, Eric Lenormand, Landon Lewis, Gregory Stine, Chelsea Tugaw, Ryan Dejong, Michael Ballard and James Kofford. 

Photo: Michael Mower instructing students.

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