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Sponsor_Sherwood_Nissan_November_2014 Edmonton Police Chief Might Not Get His 'cadillac' Of Police Helicopters

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Got this from the Edmonton sun. Anyone been following this over the last while. What a bunch of lame excuses to upgrade to a EC135. If they get one i am beating it will come from a certain operator in Ft Mac like the 120's did.


The city police chief's lofty budget goals for a new helicopter may not be entirely grounded, but he may have to settle for a more down to earth option.

Edmonton city police Chief Rod Knecht made the case Thursday for the $136.1 million administration has recommended the city spend on police capital in the next four years.

Included in that is $17.2 million to complete the detainee management facility, $7.3 million for implementation of a digital asset management system and a variety of asset renewals totalling $64.6 million. By far, the assets that got the most attention were the helicopters.


"I don't see it as being that complicated, I see it as being a necessary law enforcement tool," said Coun. Dave Loken, when asked about his support for the chopper program.

City police asked for a new twin-engine chopper to replace one of the city's existing -- and aging -- single-engine choppers at a cost of $7.16 million.

But many believe the cheaper option of a single-engine for $4.1 million is more palatable.

"It's a really nice piece of equipment but it's more than Edmonton needs. It's the Cadillac option and I told the chief this is not a Cadillac budget," said Mayor Don Iveson, adding he supports the helicopter program and believes it offers operational efficiencies as well as public safety benefits.

Knecht said that though the involvement of Air-1 in arrests is statistically low -- about one per cent of the total -- the benefits are often unseen.

"It's difficult to prove a negative ... we don't know how many lives it saves at any given time. We know it saves lives over the long-term," Knecht said.

He said by having a chopper in the air, seven to 10 units on the ground are saved a high-speed chase -- and the chances of catching people are many times higher. Added to that, he said, those who draw the attention of Air-1 are more likely to be more serious offenders.

Motions were made to support buying a single-engine helicopter to replace the existing one and offsetting the cost by about $1.5 million with the sale of the aging chopper.

Running the single-engine out of the city, though, would cost $27 million for land as it needs more room to take off, meaning it would fly from the Edmonton International Airport (EIA).

Another motion was made to buy two single-engines for the price of a double-engine and save on maintenance and training costs of running different models. That would mean recouping more than $2 million through the sale of the old ones and being able to run one out of the Villeneuve Airport and one out of the EIA.

Council is expected to return to the debate Monday.


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