Law Enforcement Helicopter Coalition

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On Monday night Belvidere City Council listened to a presentation on the need for law enforcement in the skies.

Belvidere's police chief wants a helicopter available in our region.

"Wouldn’t have to wait two to three hours for someone to come to our aid. We could get a helicopter in the air in a half hour or less. That would be good for law enforcement," says Chief Jan Noble.

The helicopter would respond to search and rescue missions. For example if an Alzheimer’s patient wanders away from a nursing home or a child gets lost in a corn field... one helicopter is effective as 10 to 15 squad cars.

The city of Belvidere would be just one of many cities served by the helicopter.

"Police chiefs and sheriffs in Lake County, McHenry, Boone Winnebago, Dekalb and Ogle really see a need to have a helicopter, maybe based at the Rockford airport," says Noble.

Officials from most of the surrounding counties will have to support the helicopter to get it off the ground.

"One department can't afford this, regionally all of us sharing these expenses we believe it can be done," says Noble.

The helicopter will be donated by the U.S. Defense Department. Some pilots have also volunteered their time as needed. But local governments would still need to pay about $300 for each hour of operation. The cost of insurance, fuel and maintenance will quickly add up.