KC police get modern helicopters

The Kansas City Police Department has three new helicopters which will replace the Vietnam era choppers it is currently using.

Police helicopters are a fairly common sight in Midtown, but soon they will be sleeker, quieter and more effective.

Pilots are training now to operate the three new MD 500E helicopters that police revealed Friday for the first time.

The silver and blue machines that cost a total of about $8.6 million are expected to be patrolling by early October.

Kansas City was among the first departments in the nation to use helicopters in 1967 and until now has used Vietnam era military surplus aircraft, police say.

The new helicopters are faster, quieter and have many advanced features to help police locate fleeing suspects or find missing persons.

Their infrared cameras can better find people at night and feed live video to officers on the ground. A “moving map” system overlays addresses onto what police see on the camera.

Two choppers were funded by the quarter-cent public safety sales tax and the third by a combination of asset forfeiture funds and a federal grant.

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