Police: Helicopter vital for public safety

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 11/08/2013 10:34 pm Published: 11/08/2013 8:33 pm

FOX23 is following this developing story: We broke down the money that would go toward the Tulsa Police Department if the Improve Our Tulsa package passes on Tuesday. One vital part of public safety is the Tulsa Police Helicopter.

FOX23 went to the Tulsa Police Department's Helicopter barn to experience why Tulsa must have an eye in the sky.

The police department used to have two choppers but now it's down to just this one and it's vital that it gets another one because if this one goes down, it can't respond to any calls requiring aerial support.

Michael Richert is a TPD helicopter pilot.
He loves his job and being first on the scene to help keep the citizens of Tulsa safe.
He tells FOX23,
"We're able to search whole areas of the city, whereas officers on the ground can only cover small areas."

One way these pilots can help officers on the ground is assisting in chases.
And with their FLIR camera system built underneath the aircraft, they can see in the dark.

A FLIR camera system has a computer screen where you can actually overlay house numbers and street numbers and it helps the pilots find anything or anyone much faster.

Being airborne also allows them to get to a location very quickly.

Richert tells us,
"We can get to the other end of the city in less than five minutes, whereas it takes an officer a long time to get from one end of the city to another."

As voters prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday to vote on the Improve Our Tulsa package, Richert wants the citizens to know why it's so important that the police department have the right equipment to keep Tulsa safe.
"We just got rid of one of our helicopters so we're down to one and that increases a lot of maintenance costs if we don't have the two we can swap out and go back and forth with. Anything that the citizens can help with, we are always grateful for."

If voters say yes, the police department will get about $1.5 million for a new helicopter.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 11/9/2013 5:11 PM
1 Vote
Tulsans were sold on having a helicopter after a high-speed chase killed an innocent family, and we were promised those would end when we bought a chopper, and then another. It was a self-indulgent lie. Contrary to what this story sells, a helicopter is NOT an essential city service.
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