New Omaha Police helicopter has new technology to keep community safe

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -Omaha Police will soon have a brand new three million dollar helicopter in their fleet.

City Council approved the pricetag earlier this week.

OPD’s chief pilot says the upgrade is needed.

“We are going from what I call a flip phone to a smartphone.”

Frank Peck is OPD’s chief helicopter pilot. He’s one of the department’s six pilots.

He says the new technology that comes with the new $3 million helicopter will be invaluable to the city—helping them to do more than ever before.

“Some of the equipment that we have is obviously our thermal technology and then it has a map overlay that provides addresses so we can very quickly help out the men and women that we support sometimes we can give them information as they are coming to the call,” said Peck.

He says that technology will help in active situations as well as pursuits. Making everyone in the surrounding area safer.

OPD currently has two helicopters. One of them is going through scheduled maintenance meaning just one is patrolling the city right now.

And every day, pending bad weather, the helicopter is up.

“We respond to everything from a missing person to any type of surveillance, a dementia patient that may have walked away. Also, we cover pursuits and any other type of police operations that may happen in the metro.”

The city will pay about a half-million dollars once the contract for the new helicopter is signed, the rest of the 2.5 million dollars will be paid over the next 15 years.

While Peck says that cost looks like a lot upfront—the work his team does makes it worth it.

“Aircrews have located a dementia person. To me, if that’s your family, that 3.2 million dollar price ticket is well worth your mother, father, son, daughter, whoever it might be being located,” said Peck.

OPD expects the new helicopter will arrive early next year.

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