I'm no expert in police procedure, but the numbers for the proposed police helicopter are not adding up for me. We're told that the cost is comparable to adding a single patrol car 24/7, but the helicopter is only going to be operational 20 hours per week. We're told that the helicopter can assist with pursuits, but we're not told how long it will take to respond during the 148 hours per week that it's not already in the air.
The main focus of the Winnipeg Police Service is to protect the public as effectively and efficiently as possible, so if a police helicopter really is the best way to spend $3.5 million up front and another $1.3 million per year, great, go ahead and get one. But so far the "analysis" behind this sounds more like a teenager trying to justify getting the latest model of MP3 player to impress his friends.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2010 A19