The Long Beach (Calif.) Police Department acquired two helicopters from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, according to the agency.
Using asset forfeiture funds, the Long Beach PD purchased two 2003 Eurocopter AS-350B2 copters to replace two 2002 Eurocopters EC-130B4, which have been in service for nine years. The units will receive upgraded equipment to enhance their law enforcement capabilities via grant money.
The newly acquired units offer notable cost savings; the major overhaul cost will be reduced by approximately 35 percent a year. Parts for repair are approximately 25 percent to 35 percent less expensive. The agency uses the federal government's fuel-subsidy (1122) program to reduce fuel costs by as much as 40 percent. AkzoNobel donated paint for both aircraft.
The Long Beach PD's Air Support Unit supports daily patrol operations, detectives, and SWAT incidents. The helicopter often coordinates ground units with perimeter and containment of large-scale incidents. The helicopters also manage vehicle pursuits and assist in locating missing persons and providing mutual aid to other law enforcement agencies.