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Law Enforcement Aircraft: A Vital Force Multiplier

NCJ Number
Sheriff Volume: 52 Issue: 1 Dated: January-February 2000 Pages: 32-60
Date Published
January 2000
4 pages
Fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft complement ground-based vehicles in hundreds of police agencies worldwide and aid search and rescue operations, surveillance, and investigative missions.
Police agencies prize helicopters for their versatility and mission adaptability. Police also use rotorcraft for public awareness and community policing missions. Fixed-wing aircraft are ideal for going from one point to another quickly and inexpensively. Their lack of hovering capabilities limits their use for some purposes, although retrofitting can expand their flight capabilities. Police agencies should consider their anticipated needs when deciding whether to purchase or lease aircraft. Aircraft acquisition costs vary widely. Most aircraft are highly reliable provided that they receive proper maintenance. Agencies that purchase aircraft should review the seller’s service contracts to determine the length of warranty, exclusions, and mechanical service provisions. The use of aircraft by law enforcement agencies is increasing. Advanced electronic and computer systems for aircraft now include real-time video downlinks and low-light surveillance. Photographs


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