LA Adventure Specialist - 11:11 26 September 2009

Copter Cops


I saw one blue jay so far this year, but I see the LAPD helicopters several times a day!

The Los Angeles Police department’s airborne law enforcement program began with one helicopter in 1956. This helicopter, a Hiller 12J was assigned primarily for traffic patrol of the City’s freeway system and was assigned to the traffic Enforcement Division. In 1957 after a full year in operation, the “Helicopter Unit” flew 775 hours.

It is hard not to see a Los Angeles helicopter of some kind when you peer into the sky’s of Southern California.

Today the LAPD fleet at full capacity, consists of:

  • 12 Aerospatiale B-2 Astars
  • 4 Bell 206 Jet Rangers
  • 1 UH1H “Huey” helicopter
  • 1 King Air 200 – Airplane

A study commissioned by NASA and conducted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Space Technology Applications Office confirmed the study and report findings as follows:

  • The number of Part 1 Property Crimes is reduced when an LAPD helicopter is overhead.
  • The number of arrests associated with radio calls is three times higher with the involvement of LAPD aircrews.
  • The citizens of Los Angeles accept helicopter patrols as a necessary part of the City’s police system and strongly favor their continuation.
  • Department ground based officers universally support a strong airborne law enforcement program within the department.
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