SOMERSET, Ky. (WYMT) - The Somerset Police Department's newest addition to the force is a small helicopter-like aircraft called a Gyroplane.
The last time we told you about it was last year during its trial period with the department, but it is now officially a part of the department.
It only takes a few flipped switches and the turn of a key, and it's ready for takeoff. The Gyroplane is one of the newest tools utilized by the Somerset Police Department.
“We try to get up and fly during the peak call volume times,” said Shannon Smith with the Somerset Police Department.
We talked to Lieutenant Smith, who says the view from above has many advantages.
“Once we're there, we're able to tell the units on the ground what we're seeing; because they're coming from maybe a different part of the city, and having to navigate by stopping for red lights or traffic flow,” said Smith.
He says that officers recently completed the training for the gyroplane.
As of now, Smith is the department's only pilot, but he has 5 tactical flight officers that can sit in the back seat and help him as he flies.
And Smith says they have already been able to stop crimes from the air.
“We've had success at locating people that have fled the scenes of various radio calls. We've had drug seizures as a result of getting officers to suspicious vehicles,” said Smith.
The department received the Gyroplane through a federal aviation technology program, which was no cost to the tax payers of Somerset.
Lieutenant Smith says the Gyroplane's daily maintenance and upkeep is very low cost compared to other aircrafts.
The Somerset Police Department is one of three agencies in the nation that was provided by a federal program.