Baltimore County (Md.) Police Department’s Aviation Team began operations in 1983 with a small Cessna aircraft that it leased for $1 a year. Today, the elite team responds to some 5,000 calls a year using its fleet of three Airbus Helicopters H125 AStars, the most widely purchased helicopter by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. recognized the outstanding police aviation unit Thursday, July 21, at the Airborne Law Enforcement Association Conference and Expo in Savannah. Baltimore County has totaled 15,000 accident-free flight hours in the H125 since putting its AStars into service in 2007 and has recorded 36,000 accident-free hours since 1983.
The Baltimore County Aviation Team provides 16 hours of patrol coverage each day with 24-hour on-call availability, participating in a range of airborne police missions, including daily patrol and neighborhood crime fighting. Helicopters are crucial to the safety of officers on the ground because they provide situational awareness for command and control, as well as valuable intelligence gathering capability during critical and fast-moving incidents such as barricaded or fleeing suspects, missing persons and crimes in progress, unit commander Sgt. David McVey said.
“I attribute our accident-free safety record to the professionalism and commitment to excellence of our sworn police officers and tactical flight officers, quality training and great maintenance and management support,” McVey said. “Safety is the foundation of all operations and the major consideration in all of our operational decisions.”
In addition to in-house training, pilots attend annual recurrency training at Airbus Helicopters Inc., in Grand Prairie. Sterling Helicopter, in Philadelphia, an Airbus Helicopters Service Center since 1985, has provided routine and more extensive maintenance for Baltimore County for nearly two decades with its factory-trained technicians.
“Frequent and open communication among our technicians, Baltimore County PD and Airbus Helicopters Inc. is the key to quality service,” said Jason Smith, General Manager of Sterling Helicopter. “Safety is the driving force behind our work, and we are committed to ensuring safety through comprehensive maintenance.”
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