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Polizia di Stato - Pratica di Mare

The Polizia di Stato is one of the national police forces of Italy. It is the main police force for providing standard police duties and it is also responsible for highway patrol, railways, airports, customs (together with the Guardia di Finanza) as well as certain waterways, and assisting the local police forces. The Polizia di Stato was formed on July 11th 1852 and was a military force until 1981 when, with the Italian State Law 121, it became a civil force, in contrast to the other main police forces of Italy, the Carabinieri, which is a military police force and the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian customs and border protection police that also fall in the military corps category.


The Reparto Volo (Flight Department) of the Polizia di Stato was formed on January 1st 1971. Two weeks later the 1º Reparto Volo was established at Pratica di Mare Airbase. Nowadays the Polizia di Stato has a total of eleven Flight Departments which cover the entire national territory. The Flight Department operates a total of 65 helicopters (eleven A-109s, thirty-one AB.206s and twenty-

three AB.212s) and 20 aircraft (eighteen P.68 Observers and two P.180s). The 1º Reparto Volo at Pratica di Mare takes care of the security of the regions Lazio and Umbria, with particular attention to the city of Rome which, given the amount of events, requires constant effort.


In the beginning the aircraft and helicopters of the Polizia di Stato were only seen circling above the heavy traffic roads. In fact, their only task was to control the movement. Today the functions performed by the Flight Department have evolved considerably and safely at high altitude plays an important role in the protection of citizens. Thanks to the unique characteristics of mobility and flexibility, the Flight Department has proven to be suitable in all activities of the Polizia di Stato, particularly with regard to territorial control, monitoring and rescue from mountains or sea.


One of the other units of the Polizia di Stato the Flight Department works very close with is the K9 Dog Unit (Cinofili). The first Police Dog Training Centre was established in the aftermath of World War I, and the first success with the use of K9 dogs took place in 1924 during the search of Giacomo Matteotti, an Italian Socialist politician who was violently murdered by Fascists. Following a few ‘German Shepherds’ were purchased in Germany to breed at a farm in Postojna, at the time Italian territory. From 1947 the dogs were bred in the current location Nettuno, were since 1955 also the Dog Training Centre is located. The various dog units are specialized in finding drugs, bombs and missing persons. Others are trained to attack suspects when necessary. As the K9 Dog Units train on regular base with the Flight Department, the dogs are comfortable to fly along in the helicopters.


During my visit to the 1º Reparto Volo at Pratica di Mare on May 2nd 2012, a nice demonstration was given by both the K9 Dog Units and Flight Department to show how good they collaborate. I was able to take some nice shots of the Polizia di Stato helicopters and aircraft as well as some of the neighbouring units stationed at Pratica di Mare Airbase. A very big thanks for organizing this visit goes out to Gianfranco and his colleagues of the Polizia di Stato.    (Click here for a log)





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