Friday, March 29, 2013

Wilmington, North Carolina: MyReporter answers question about police helicopter

Q: Did the Wilmington Police Department purchase a new helicopter, in addition to the two that they already had? 

A: The Wilmington Police Department, which operates the SABLE helicopter program in conjunction with other local law enforcement agencies, recently acquired a new helicopter to replace a retiring one.

Lucy Crockett, a police spokeswoman, said the new aircraft is a U.S. military surplus helicopter given to North Carolina for use by a law enforcement agency. The only costs incurred by the SABLE program, which is funded through a multi-agency partnership, involved the inspections and stripping equipment out of the old helicopter and installing it in the new one.

The SABLE program includes two helicopters – SABLE I and SABLE II.

The new military surplus helicopter will replace SABLE I, meaning the program will still fly only two helicopters.

"The new aircraft has had significantly less usage and is in much better condition than the current SABLE I," Crockett said. "Before the SABLE program acquired it, it already had been refurbished with about $130,000 worth of new equipment and repairs."

The current SABLE I is slated to be returned to the state, Crockett said.

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