- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Tulsa Police Department has a new $2.8 million helicopter that will help officers safely track vehicles from above.

The 2013 Airbus AS350 B2 brings the department’s helicopter count back to two, the Tulsa World reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/1v1nxyU ). The department had been down to one helicopter since a 10-year-old model was sold last September.

Sgt. Nick Cory said the $1.1 million from the old helicopter’s sale combined with $1.7 million from an old capital improvement plan paid for the new helicopter, which has a monitor that shows street names, addresses and more, depending on what the camera attached to the bottom of the helicopter is pointed at.

“Really, we could fly this thing to Boston and lead a street pursuit there by calling out street names in a city we’ve never been in,” Officer Byron Barnhart said.

A Swedish company made the spotlight and gave it to the department for $1, Barnhart said. The company did so in part to help gain a market in America and in part because the Tulsa department has helped them work out bugs on their systems for the last two years.

Using a helicopter in police work has helped in cases recently, Barnhart said, including a homicide investigation after a 14-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by on the Gilcrease Expressway in May. Officers on the ground spotted the vehicle from which the gunshots were allegedly fired, and the helicopter quickly began tracking it. Three people have been charged in the death.

Barnhart also recalled how he found a man hiding in south Tulsa woods last year who was then arrested in the death of a college professor in Tahlequah.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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