From the Archives: L.A. County Sheriff’s 1934 ‘aero squadron’

March 4, 1934: Members of L.A. County Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz's volunteer aero squadron pose in front of a Fokker aircraft.
(Los Angeles Times)

Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz's aero squadron began as a volunteer outfit in the 1920s.

Members of the squadron, pictured in 1934, were identified as, from left, Richard McNulte, Goodyear blimp volunteer; Capt. A.A. Hopkins of the sheriff's office; George Rice, veteran pilot for Transcontinental & Western Air (which later became Trans World Airlines); Art Klein, Warner Bros. studio flier; William Keith Scott, private flier; Moye Stevens, private pilot; Capt. Claude F. Morgan, aviation deputy commanding the sheriff's Aero Squadron; Charles N. (Jimmie) James, veteran pilot of Western Air Express; Capt. Warren E. Carey, flying deputy from Union Oil Co.; Sheriff Biscailuz; and Deputy Sheriffs Simmons, Anstein, Brown, Vigneau and Capt. Conly of the Alhambra substation of the sheriff's office.

When this image appeared in the March 5, 1934, Los Angeles Times, the accompanying story explained:

What was planned as an inspection and review of the Los Angeles Sheriff's aero squadron, most unusual aerial law-enforcement arm in the world, yesterday resulted in an acid test of the ability of the men and planes to function in the most inclement weather conditions, when the thirteen ships forming the squadron flew more than 110 miles, covered strategic areas of the county and visited ten airports.

The only volunteer air force for law enforcement on earth, the squadron performed in a manner exceeding even the hopes of Sheriff Biscailuz. The new arm of the law demonstrated its worth in emergency as planned, although virtually the entire flight called for blind flying, compasses alone guiding the pilots to their goals.

Leaving United Airport at Burbank at 10 a.m., the squadron, comprised of ships of a dozen makes, flown by their owners, all of whom are deputies, paused at designated airports en route, were met by civic leaders and officials of the various municipalities and returned to Grand Central Air Terminal at 4 p.m. without mishap. …

All the planes, including Fokkers, Boeings, Stearmans, Wacos, Cessnas and others, are capable of speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. …

This image was republished in the July 10, 2005, Los Angeles Times accompanying a story on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Museum.

This post was originally published on June 12, 2015.

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