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New LVMPD helicopter expected to see heavy workload in rescue efforts

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department expects its new ship to see plenty of action, especially in search-and-rescue missions. (KSNV)

A new, state-of-the-art law enforcement helicopter has arrived in southern Nevada,

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department expects its new ship to see plenty of action, especially in search-and-rescue missions.

It is the first-ever use of an Airbus h-145 in a police configuration. They sell for between $8 million and $10 million, which has something to do with the black-and-white paint scheme that resembles the Department’s ground cruisers.

"I want people to know the good that your police department is doing for you,” said LVMPD Chief Pilot Steve Morris. “That we're out there helping people with these expensive items that we're purchasing.”

Morris says this is money well spent.

“It's a new helicopter. It's a modern helicopter. It's a glass cockpit,” Morris said. “It's got increased performance. It's got the Fennestron tail rotor. It's got twin engines. Four main rotor blades. It's a big improvement over what we have.”

It's easy to recognize LVMPD helicopters from the ground, even if you're not familiar with the different models by the bright red vertical stabilizer – the tail. This one features a Fennestron — or fan enclosed — blade. That makes it safer, provides more tail rotor authority for maneuverability, and it's also significantly quieter.

“This helicopter is the only helicopter in our fleet that would be certified to fly in the Grand Canyon,” Morris said. “The Fennestron reduces noise compared to the 530F, our patrol helicopters and the HH1F significantly.”

The public will be hearing — and seeing — less of those older ships as time goes on.

“We will be phasing out of the Hueys at some point within the next couple of years,” Morris said. “Just due to their age. They've been a great work horse for us.”

But the H-145 is intended to make the operation more efficient and safer for the LVMPD pilots — especially when performing search-and-rescue operations.

“We're asking them to go out into very tight canyons, where people are stuck in very complex hiking routes,” Morris said.

Pilots are undergoing a three-part training program, including factory certification from the manufacturer as well as internal transport and rescue classes. The H-145 is now a part of regular operations.

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