Census of Law Enforcement Aviation Units, 2007 [United States] (ICPSR 25482)

Published: Dec 7, 2009

Principal Investigator(s):
United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


Version V1

CLEAU, 2007

The 2007 Census of Law Enforcement Aviation Units is the first systematic, national-level data collection providing information about law enforcement aviation assets and functions. In general, these units provide valuable airborne support for traditional ground-based police operations. An additional role following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is the provision of essential homeland security functions, such as providing critical facility checks of buildings, ports and harbors, public utilities, inland waterways, oil refineries, bridges and spans, water storage/reservoirs, National and/or State monuments, water treatment plants, irrigation facilities, airports, and natural resources. Aviation units are thought to be able to perform critical facility checks and routine patrol and support operations with greater efficiency than ground-based personnel. However, little is presently known about the equipment, personnel, operations, expenditures, and safety requirements of these units on a national level. This information is critical to law enforcement policy development, planning, and budgeting at all levels of government. The data will supply law enforcement agencies with a benchmark for comparative analysis with other similarly situated agencies, and increase understanding of the support that aviation units provide to ground-based police operations.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census of Law Enforcement Aviation Units, 2007 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-12-07. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR25482.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

2007 (Fiscal or Calendar Year)

2008-03 -- 2008-09

The 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) LAW ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE STATISTICS (LEMAS) SURVEY (ICPSR 4411), asked whether an agency operated a fixed-wing airplane and whether an agency operated a helicopter. Based on the 2003 data, it was estimated that about 250 law enforcement aviation units were in operation among state and local agencies in the United States. The 2007 Census of Law Enforcement Aviation Units (CLEAU) was then mailed to all agencies sampled in the 2003 LEMAS survey that reported having either a fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter.

Law enforcement agencies that reported that they operate a fixed-wing airplane or a helicopter in the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey .

census/enumeration data

Of the initial 245 agencies, 98.4 percent (241) responded. Twenty-four agencies (9.8 percent) were out of scope either because they no longer operated an aircraft or had misreported in the 2003 LEMAS survey and had never operated any aircraft. Five of the agencies were duplicates in that they shared an aviation unit with another agency that had already responded. Thus, the final CLEAU database included 212 aviation units. For the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, Aviation Units in Large Law Enforcement Agencies, 2007, the 11 aviation units in agencies that had fewer than 100 sworn officers were not included in the analysis.



2009-12-02 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.