OHP Major Mike Grimes is recognized for his service
On September 26, 2005, Major Mike Grimes #5 of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol received a special award at the 3rd Annual Excellence in Police Aviation Award Luncheon through the International Association of Chiefs of Police. His award stated "In recognition of your effort to enhance the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of Police Aviation."
Major Mike Grimes is rated and is an active fixed wing and helicopter pilot, multi-engine and instrument rated with 5,000 hours of flying experience. He was placed over the Aviation Division of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol six (6) years ago and since this time he has served on the the IACP Aviation Committee. At the time of his placement over the Aviation Division, the division was stagnant due to a lack of funding and direction. Since that time, the Aviation Division has developed in budget, structure and responsibilities.
Through the efforts of Major Grimes and the personnel assigned to the Aviation Division the following have been implemented:
- A helicopter unit has been bought on line with the acquisition and total refurbishment of two Bell OH-58 model helicopters fully equipped with FLIR, night sun, and communication for majority of statewide law enforcement. These helicopters are crewed by six pilots and observers. They are used extensively in criminal and search and rescue operations as well as responding to requests for assistance statewide.
- Legislation was passed which provides funding for an annual aircraft replacement program. The Patrol has a fleet of nine (9) Cessna 182's which range in age from 1971 to 1999. Previously there was no program to replace these aircraft. Eventually the oldest aircraft in the fleet will be ten (10) years old with aircraft being replaced at ten (10) years on a rotating basis.
- This year the Aviation Division will purchase a second twin engine aircraft to be utilized for transportation.
- An aircraft mechanic and inspector were hired and an in-house maintenance program has been developed. This has provided increased safety and reliability of aviation operations with a decrease in costs. Prior to this time, the Patrol had utilized random maintenance facilities across the state.
- The Patrol's fleet of aircraft has been upgraded with the latest in avionics, allowing for nighttime and instrument operations with all pilots' training being upgraded to the appropriate level.
These efforts by Major Grimes and his staff have significantly increased the flexibility of the Aviation Division to respond to needs of the agency.
Safety is consistently emphasized in the OHP Aviation Division. Major Grimes and his staff, have developed a continual training regiment and quarterly safety check rides by all pilots. Both Flight Safety and Bell Helicopter programs are utilized in assuring operational safety.
The nomination for this award was provided by the Chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Colonel Gary Adams. Colonel Adams stated, "Major Mike Grimes is and has been a tremendous asset to the State of Oklahoma and the United States of America. His willingness to get things accomplished with whatever is given him and his unwavering, sacrificial, commitment to the Public Safety and Service. He is an exceptional man that Oklahomans can be very proud of."