ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – State Police showed off their new helicopter on Wednesday; one that will better allow them to be the eyes and ears of what’s going on in New Mexico.
State Police officers said they go on about 150 to 200 helicopter missions on average every year. They believe the new helicopter will be essential for their success.
“As time goes on, technology changes, and as a department, we also needed to advance with the times to better serve our department, as well as the citizens of the state,” said James Parks, a tactical officer with NMSP.
Parks said the new helicopter cost more than $9 million and was paid for with state funds. He said the new chopper allows them to operate in any temperature and conduct rescues pretty much anywhere in the state.
“It definitely will make a difference with response times, our safety and being able to operate on a day to day basis,” said Parks.
Parks and his crew are still doing some training over the next couple of weeks before the helicopter becomes fully operational. He said until then, the Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office are stepping in to help if a helicopter mission is required while NMSP is training.
It’s been 10 years since State Police Officer Andy Tingwall died in a helicopter crash while trying to rescue a hiker on the Santa Fe Baldy. State Police plan on dedicating their new helicopter hangar at Double Eagle Airport to Tingwall.