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Helicopter purchase passes hurdle

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WINNIPEG — City council has approved a plan to spend $3.5 million to buy a police helicopter, contingent upon $1.3 million in annual operating cash from the province.

Council voted 14-2 to proceed with the purchase, which includes a new hangar and on-board equipment such as an infrared camera and GPS-enabled tracking system.

Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and Russ Wyatt (Transcona) voted in opposition.

Gerbasi asked if the helicopter money could be better spent on other police initiatives and complained a comparison has never been made public.

Wyatt said the public would much rather see more police cruisers on the streets.

Other opposition councillors expressed concerns about a weak police report justifying the purchase, but said they have faith in police chief Keith McCaskill.

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