Edmonton Mulls New Helicopter

Even though the case for police helicopters has been proven time and again, the normal replacement cycle of airframes sometimes hits turbulence with pennywise city council members and sometimes they need a ride along to get why the expense is worth it. Edmonton Police Service just got a new $5.9 million Airbus H-125 earlier this year to replace one of its EC-120 helicopters. The 2019 budget request included buying a second H125 to replace the remaining EC-120, which will be at the end of its service life in 2021. Pilots can talk about why newer is better but they also like to show the decision makers why they’re so passionate about what they do and Edmonton councillor became a convert. “I guess that’s how they get you,” Knack said. “When you get to go up in the helicopter, you get to see it yourself.”

Another councillor hasn’t sampled the Kool Aid yet and wanted to kill the idea in budget deliberations but the majority prevailed with a caveat. The police have to make a business case for keeping the fleet up to date. “Then they can also decide, is this the best way to spend that money?” Coun. Sarah Hamilton said. “Could we lease a helicopter, could we buy one second-hand, could we share one? So there are a lot of options here and it keeps the helicopter request alive.”