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Edmonton Police Service inducts new H125 helicopter.

| 2018

Canada's Edmonton Police Service Flight Operations Unit has officially unveiled its new H125 "Air 1" helicopter. The $5.9 million helicopter will help police fight crime and keep Edmonton and the surrounding region safe, the service said on February 23, 2018.

Edmonton Police Service inducts new H125 helicopter 001 Edmonton Police Service recently inducted a new H125 light helicopter
(Credit: EPS)

With the continued growth of the city, the mobility of criminals across the region, and the need for greater public and officer safety, a new helicopter with enhanced capabilities is required,” says Acting Police Chief Greg Preston. “Because the new Air 1 is better, stronger, and faster than our previous helicopters, we can provide a greater level of safety and support across the city.

Chosen for its affordability, versatility, and dependability, the Airbus H-125 model is considered one of the best helicopters in service, and is used by over 200 law enforcement agencies around the world.

The new helicopter has significant improvements: GPS navigational overlays; upgraded avionics for situational awareness and hazard warnings; enhanced digital camera and infrared system; Alberta First Responder Radio Communication System (AFRRCS); better visibility, stability and seating for crew; increased fuel capacity for longer flights; more powerful engine for increased speed and lift; and safety features to prevent hydraulic and engine failures.

The helicopter was budgeted at $5.9 million, with $3.4 million in funding coming from the Alberta Government Municipal Sustainability Initiative, and the remaining from the City of Edmonton.

We are proud to be able to help make Edmonton a safer place to live,” says the Honourable Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Strong, safe communities are more attractive places to locate a business and raise a family, and it is very important for us to be able to support the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Police Service in these goals.”

A strong, efficient police force improves the livability of any city,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “New technologies and resources like Air 1 will help EPS protect our citizens, keep out cities safe and strengthen EPS’ reputation as a national leader in policing.”

Since September, EPS flight crews have been training on the new helicopter, testing its state-of-the-art systems, and putting it through its paces on emergency calls.

One night, the new helicopter helped safely end a criminal fight with an armed suspect that could have ended tragically.

The vehicle failed to stop for EPS patrol officers and fled the city at a high rate of speed. In the interest of public safety, patrol units discontinued pursuit, but Air 1 followed the vehicle from high above. The suspect abandoned the vehicle on a rural road and was observed fleeing into the treeline with a firearm. Air 1 was able to direct RCMP officers to his precise location, where he was arrested without incident and the weapon was recovered.

Without Air 1’s enhanced capabilities, the risk would have been greatly increased for innocent bystanders, the suspect, and the police officers involved.

Air 1 responds to approximately 3,000 calls annually, including calls to assist Edmonton Fire Rescue and the RCMP as well. With the new helicopter’s strength, speed and endurance, Air 1 can be the first on scene, remain on scene longer, and its technology can help coordinate EPS, Fire Rescue, and EMS resources on the ground more effectively.

Since 2009, the EPS has been fortunate to have two Airbus H120 helicopters in service, so that if one was down for maintenance or repairs, the other could continue to provide support. With the arrival of the new Airbus H-125 helicopter, the original Air 1 helicopter purchased in 2001 was decommissioned. Some of the major components from the original helicopter such as the engine will be sold, but other parts will be used to support the remaining H120 helicopter.




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