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Dallas PD Helicopter Unit Celebrates 40th Year

August 10, 2009  | 

The Dallas Police Department uses Bell 206B3 helicopters similar to the one seen in this photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter.

The Dallas Police Department's helicopter patrol unit is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is featured by the Dallas Morning News.

As part of the celebration, a Dallas police helicopter was moved into the Frontiers of Flight Museum for public display.

The unit's four helicopters are primarily used to assist in vehicle and foot pursuits, unit pilot James Rucker tells POLICE Magazine. Beginning this week, the unit will begin joint training with the Dallas PD's SWAT unit for coordination on tactical missions.

The helicopter units participated in 38 vehicle pursuits and 274 arrests in 2006, according to an agency report on the unit.

In 2007, the department replaced most of its aging fleet with three new helicopters at a cost of about $5.3 million. The unit now has 14 pilots, two sergeants, a lieutenant and three mechanics. The work load is usually between 500 and 600 calls per month.

The unit deploys four Bell Helicopters, including two 206B3s, a 407 and an OH-58. The OH-58, built in 1972, was purchased from the military and formerly used as a U.S. Army Ranger helicopter.

Read the full story at

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Jim @ 2/9/2011 7:53 PM

I remember the first helicopter DPD had, a two seater. It was flown by one of my best friends Tommy Patton, you old timers will remember him as CT Patton, he was in a patrol car for many years first. His sons grew up to be police officers too, last I checked one was a detective in GP (allen) one in cedar hill last I knew.

Julie @ 10/10/2011 4:51 AM

My late husband worked with Tommy at DPD Helicopter Section. Do you know how I can reach Tommy? Thank you

Frank Plaster @ 3/17/2012 10:39 PM

Haha James Rucker was arrested for a DWI in Rockwall in May 2010 and lost his job.

Shannan @ 5/27/2012 9:37 AM

Frank Plaster, YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT!!! Nuff said!

TOMMY PATTON @ 1/14/2015 2:36 PM


Van Temple @ 2/17/2015 9:11 AM

Does anyone have the newspaper article from 1984 that was published shortly before the tragic crash into the new communications tower - July 24, 1984? I'm writing a story about that crash and cannot find the article. The article featured the Dallas Helicopter Division and its outstanding safely record. Please help if you can. Thanks.

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