BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Foxtrot helicopters play a major role in helping Baltimore police catch criminals. Ever since one went down back in 1998, killing an officer, the department has focused on preventing future accidents.
Monique Griego was there as it unveiled its newest fleet.
Baltimore Police have gone to great lengths to improve their fleet of helicopters, and these new members are completely state-of-the-art.
In November 1998, a Baltimore Police Foxtrot helicopter went down during a car chase, killing the pilot, flight officer Barry Wood.
“Ever since then we have worked very hard to make sure that would never happen again,” said Anthony Guglielmi, police spokesman.
Guglielmi says having a dependable chopper is a major part of keeping people safe in the sky and on the streets.
And Thursday, WJZ got an up close look at the department’s new fleet.
“We’re one of biggest assets to the officers on the ground,” said Lt. Don Bauer.
Bauer showed WJZ one of the four new helicopters.
And whether it’s chasing down dirt bikes or helping officers track down criminals, improved technology is giving police added advantages in the air.
The new helicopters come equipped with a new mapping system and have cameras so officers have a better picture of what’s happening on the ground.
“It makes it a lot safer for the officers on the street,” Bauer said.
“With this new system I can look right down, put the crosshairs on him and I can tell him quickly what alley he’s in, what street he’s on,” said Officer Patrick A. Sellers.
Officers will also be able to use thermal imaging and zoom in on suspects from miles away.
Bauer says the new fleet no doubt has him feeling more secure.
“Just like anything, if you’re flying something newer or driving something newer, you’re going to feel safer about it,” he said.
The old helicopters had reached their maximum service time, and replacing them was more cost-effective than continuing to make repairs.