Edmonton police have cleared another hurdle in getting funding for a second helicopter for use in fighting crime. 


Edmonton police want to add a second helicopter to supplement Air-1, which took to the skies seven years ago. ((Edmonton Police))

A city council committee approved a funding request of $150,000 Monday to pay for a deposit needed to get the helicopter built.   

The helicopter, known as Air-2, will cost $1.6 million. The Edmonton police commission is recommending the purchase because the first helicopter, Air-1, needs maintenance.

Air-1 spent 1,100 hours in the air in 2007 and has been credited with handling dangerous police pursuits more safely because of its high-tech tracking equipment. Police say it can respond to other calls more quickly than patrol officers, crossing the city in four minutes.

Police Insp. Neil Dubord said there is no intention to run both helicopters in the air at the same time.

"Our current helicopter has to be down two full days for maintenance every week.  As a result of that, we don't have a helicopter available for us to be able to fly those additional hours," he said. 

Edmonton police would  like to see Air-2 flying  by July 2009. City council will still need to approve the purchase and is expected to discuss the issue during the 2009 budget deliberations this fall.