An aging Police Department helicopter will be replaced by a quieter, more powerful model under a plan approved this week by the City Council.
To make the $1-million helicopter purchase, the council increased the Police Department budget for fiscal 1995-96 by $905,000.
Police Chief Randall W. Gaston wrote in a memo to the council that the department's 1980-model helicopter has logged more than 15,200 hours of flight time and is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain.
Gaston said the typical law enforcement helicopter is used for seven years, during which it logs 6,000 to 8,000 flight hours.
The new model, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, does not have a tail rotor and will therefore make less noise than the department's other helicopters, officials said. It is to be delivered by mid-1996.
Gaston credits the use of patrol helicopters over the last 25 years with reducing crime in the city, improving response times and making conditions safer for officers on the ground.
The department maintains two patrol copters that can fly day or night.