The department now has two helicopters.

Police Sgt. Nick Corey says the Airbus replaced a 2003 Bell “Long Ranger” helicopter which the department sold in September 2013. Corey said the Bell was on a 10-year replacement interval. He said the department picked the Airbus because it has more space and is more versatile.

He said space in the Bell helicopter only allowed for a 10 ½-inch view screen for the observer while the Airbus allows a 17-inch screen. He says the Airbus can hold more equipment and has a flat floor behind the cockpit which is easier to use during special operations.

The department still has a 2007 Bell Long Ranger and both helicopters utilize forward looking infrared (FLIR) cameras.

Sgt. Corey says a new Bell helicopter would have been more expensive than the Airbus and Airbus helicopters have longer overhaul intervals than Bells, making them more cost effective.

He says the Oklahoma Highway Patrol also received a new Airbus helicopter and the Oklahoma City Police Department got two Airbus helicopters this month.

TPD sold the 2003 Bell helicopter for $1.1 million and used the money from that sale to purchase the $2.8 million Airbus helicopter.

Sgt. Corey says the department is expected to start flying the new helicopter by late next week.

Airbus says its AS350 Series helicopter is the most widely used helicopter by law enforcement across the U.S. with more than 220 currently in use.