KCPD helicopter unit turns 50 years old

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Police Department is celebrating a big milestone.  Its helicopter unit is turning 50 years old.

The helipad was open to the public Saturday for the community to get a rare glimpse inside the police choppers we often see and hear circling in the sky.  The unit currently has three helicopters, which are upgrades purchased in 2012.  KCPD’s chopper unit was one of the first of its kind in the nation, and it now serves a critical role in crime prevention, arresting suspects and locating missing people.

“It’s really immeasurable when it comes right down to the benefit that the helicopter provides the citizens of Kansas City and the metropolitan area.  We service about 40 outside agencies as well that don’t have units of their own.  But we’re literally a force multiplier.  Research has shown at least eight officers would be the equivalent of one helicopter’s work,” said Sgt. Isaac Freestone, KCPD helicopter unit supervisor.

A few of the original members of KCPD’s helicopter unit were on hand for Saturday’s festivities.  Some of them even took to the skies again for a ride in the modern day police helicopters.