Ernie Schnabler serves CRESA as a Homeland Security Coordinator for the four counties of Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum here in Southwest Washington. Ernie is well respected in this region for his efforts in managing the homeland security grant program and providing high quality training and regional exercises.
The Norm Edwards Counterdrug Officer and Incident Commander of the Year Award recognizes a current member who has made significant National contributions to the Civil Air Patrol’s Counterdrug and Emergency Services Program. The award is dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Colonel Norman Edwards, a CAP member and U.S. Customs agent whose contributions to CAP spanned more than a decade.
Just when it seemed Colonel Ernestus Schnabler had done it all in his service to Civil Air Patrol — including serving as commander of his squadron, group and the Washington Wing — he proved he still had more to offer as the Wing’s Type I Incident Commander and Director of Counterdrug Operations.
While others his age have retired to a more leisurely-paced lifestyle, Col Schnabler is just getting started. He is already a legend in the Washington Wing, where he has held the positions of commander, incident commander, emergency services and homeland security director. Besides serving as a mission pilot, he is a key player at North Star, a regional biennial conference of law enforcement personnel, from local to national levels. At North Star he has sold Federal government officials on what CAP can offer in – especially - counterdrug capabilities.
Because he understands the needs of law enforcement, he knows how to accurately and reliably deliver the services to his customers, whether large agencies or smaller ones, which particularly value CAP’s professionalism, dedication, and flexibility. Described as being a born leader and exceptionally charismatic, Col Schnabler expects the best from his subordinates and motivates them accordingly. For his part, he uses discrete meetings, training and conference calls in keeping with the relative clandestine nature of his missions; then, with his oversight, program managers execute his plan, and fully qualified CAP aircrews are dispatched in coordination with law enforcement’s ground operations. Between those serving in counterdrug operational roles and those in the cockpit, Col Schnabler estimates the Washington Wing easily exceeded 15,000 man-hours in 2011 in the War on Drugs. Even at a modest $15 per hour, that resulted in almost a quarter million Dollars of services to the customers!
During 2011, the Washington Wing, under the direction of Col Schnabler, assisted law enforcement in locating marijuana plants that, had they been processed and reached the streets, would have had a “street value” of over $ 60 million.
The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) is very proud of Ernie's hard work as he is just one of the many examples of CRESA employees who serve just as much in their "free" time as they do here on the job.
Thank you, Ernie, for being a shining example of public service both for Clark County and to our country.