“Ever since I could remember I’ve wanted to be a pilot,” enthusiastically said Officer Pando who combines his passion for flying with the love for his job as a K9 officer. “When I was a child I saw a documentary on the P51 Mustang and the pilots who flew them. I thought it was cool and from then on I was hooked.” At age 15, Pando witnessed his older cousin going through the Police Academy, eventually becoming an officer. When it came time for him to decide between aviation and law enforcement; he chose the latter and was hired by MDSPD in 2013.
His first flying experience was when he was about five years old at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair’s helicopter rides. His dad, as a US Army Veteran, rode in many choppers like the one they had at the fair and he took him up for a ride. “I remember being extremely excited and talking about it for weeks. Now, years later, I take my father up on airplanes and we share adventures in the sky.” Officer Pando trained at the Pilot Training Center at Tamiami Airport and earned his single engine private pilot’s license in 2014. He plans on getting a commercial license one day. “I believe that additional training always makes you a safer, more competent and overall better pilot,” he says.
As someone who loves excitement and values safety, he brings in those qualities to his duties as a K9 officer. The MDSPD K9 team conducts sweeps in various schools every week. The unit consists of four gun detection dogs, two explosive ordinance disposal detection dogs, one narcotics detection dog, and one missing persons bloodhound dog. Two of the abovementioned K-9 are also dual-purpose apprehension dogs. “I love what I do as it is extremely rewarding to be a part of the K-9 Unit,” said Pando. “My partner Yeti is a two year-old Belgian Malinois. Yeti is now trained to find guns. Belgian Malinois are very energetic and have a very high drive to work, which make them great police dogs.” Officer Pando as his wife are expecting twins and he looks forward to continuing experiencing the joys of flying.
“When you are up in the air you feel a sense of peacefulness and tranquility that is difficult to explain if you haven’t flown a small airplane before,” explains Officer Pando. “It is a rare sense of freedom that not many people get to experience in their lifetime – it’s just you and the airplane. You see things from a different perspective.” The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department honors Officer Pablo Pando during Aviation History Month.