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Derek Ralph

UAS Tactics Instructor

Derek Ralph is the primary UAS Tactics Instructor, a 14-year veteran of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, and 10-year US Army National Guard Infantry Combat Veteran. Some of Derek’s prior assignments have been Detentions, Patrol, Training Officer, Community Oriented Policing, Emergency Planning Detail, and SWAT. During Derek’s time on the SWAT team, Derek evaluated and purchased his Departments first sUAS systems for use in Search and Rescue and SWAT operations.

Derek was assigned to the Sheriff Department’s Air Support Detail (ASTREA) in 2013. During his assignment, he has flown over 4,000 hours as a Tactical Flight Officer, Rescue Specialist, and Pilot in Command. Derek is a rated commercial rotorcraft pilot, sUAS remote pilot, and is a member of the Airborne Public Safety Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Derek is certified to pilot the Robinson R-22, R-44, MD 500D, MD 530F, Bell 407GX, and Bell 407GXi. He is the primary tactics instructor at ASTREA, Department sUAS Tactics Instructor, as well as the unit expert for a fleet of various FLIR, Aero Computer Mission Management Systems, Searchlights, Video Downlink Systems, and Radios. This experience enabled Derek to design ASTREA’s current fleet of Bell 407GXi helicopters, and re-design his units Bell 205A1++ cockpit. Derek also evaluated, designed, tested, and built a 4,200 square mile video downlink system, and wrote federal grants for various equipment purchases and acquisition.

Derek has applied a thinking outside-the-box approach to airborne operations and tactics. This approach has propelled Derek into becoming a recognized expert in airborne law enforcement tactics and techniques. Since ASTREA not only performs Airborne Law Enforcement Operations, but also Search and Rescue, Medical Rescues, Hoist Rescues, and Aerial Fire Suppression Operations, this has given Derek invaluable and unique experience in various airborne tactics and operational fields.

Through Derek’s career and various assignments, he has developed an invaluable catalog of experience. Derek has strategically applied that experience to help transform Tactical Flight Officers, Pilots, and sUAS remote pilots into highly skilled, efficient, and effective TFO’s and sUAS operators.


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