The Eurocopter Canada Limited WPS Helicopter is set to hit Winnipeg skies before December 15 says Mayor Sam Katz.

An EC-120B Colibri (“Hummingbird”) has been selected. It has fast become to Canadian law enforcement air support what the Crown Victoria cruiser car is to general patrol operations.

Air support operations will provide many benefits to police operations, including:

* Increased public safety
* Enhanced officer safety
* Faster response times
* Improved pursuit management and a reduction in the number of dangerous high-speed pursuits
* Greater apprehension rates involving police pursuits or suspects fleeing crime scenes
* Higher clearance rates on a variety of call types
* Added deterrence and enforcement of traffic related issues (street racing/impaired driving)
* Live aerial video feeds of incidents for Incident Commanders on the ground
* Improved support for missing person searches involving broad search areas and difficult terrain
* Fewer demands of on-the-ground resources by using aerial support to serve as a “force multiplier” (a tool that allows one officer to accomplish the work of many)
* Greater police visibility in the community

The Flight Operations Unit will be staffed with a combination of police officers and civilian pilots. The aircraft maintenance will also be done by a civilian engineer/firm.

Image D-HKMM Eurocopter EC-120B Colibri at ILA 2006, Schoenefeld Originally uploaded by Ian Press Photography