Five police helicopters circled above Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital for several minutes before landing with red lights and sirens blaring (Code 3) on the grassy courtyard area north of the hospital. Then over 35 police officers and sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles rolled in Code-3 right up to the sidewalk next to the hospital entrance.
Another 8 specialized police vehicles poured in and parked next to the helicopters – a spectacular sight that would take anyone’s breath away. And when you think it’s all over, seven armored SWAT vehicles made their way to the west side of the helicopters and parked next to the Chapel. All this time every siren was blaring at full volume and every emergency light was flashing.
Over a hundred children, hospital staff, and spectators gathered at the north side of the Loma Linda School of Medicine to see this spectacular Law Enforcement entry for the 19th Annual Cops for Kids Fly-In, an event dedicated to all the patients at the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
The event was co-hosted by the Riverside Police Department, Riverside County Sherriff’s, Moreno Valley Police Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s, and San Bernardino Police Department. Several officers from various other Law Enforcement agencies also joined in including the Ontario Police Department, Fontana Police Department, Rialto Police Department, Redlands Police Department, San Bernardino County Probation, Pasadena Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Department, and the United States Marine Corps from Twenty-Nine Palms.
Throughout the year, agencies have been collecting funds and toys for this event. The toys are given to the patients in the Children’s Hospital. Each child is personally handed a gift from the Peace Officers.
Several kids from the Children’s Unit were waiting for the Cops for Kids Fly-In arrival on the steps of the hospital. Many of the kids were in their pajamas and hospital gowns, some were in wheelchairs, and others were still attached to their intravenous machines.
The hospital held a short welcoming ceremony for all those who participated in the FlyIin. San Bernardino County’s Sheriff John McMahon addressed the crowd along with several hospital administrators who expressed their appreciation to Law Enforcement agencies for making this day extra special for the kids. After the ceremony, the kids and spectators were encouraged to tour and sit inside the helicopters and SWAT vehicles.
Chief Executive Officer for Loma Linda University Medical Center Kerry Heinrich was among the speakers at the event, and could later be seen shaking hands with, and personally thanking, law enforcement officers for their participation in the Fly-In.
Prior to the Fly-In, law enforcement agencies gathered and staged at the Sheriff’s Aviation Unit at the San Bernardino International Airport. After a short introduction and briefing with Briana Pastorino from Loma Linda University Hospital, those not in a helicopter formed a vehicle procession that spanned several blocks, traveling the four miles to the hospital.
And of course, the police cars had their red lights and sirens on, thrilling spectators who came out to watch and record the event on their cell phones. This may be the only occasion that a police procession rolling Code-3 is a welcoming and friendly occasion.
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