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Police Chopper in Need of New Thermal Imaging System

February 10, 2016 2:05 PM | News

Winnipeg Police Air 1

Air 1, the Winnipeg Police Service helicopter (HANDOUT / FILE)

Winnipeg police stated their case on Wednesday for a reported $360,000 upgrade to its Air 1 helicopter.

The chopper is currently under a provincial review to determine its continued usage as an integral tool in the service’s crime-fighting arsenal.

Police are looking for funding from the city and province for a new forward looking infrared camera (FLIR), used to track suspects or evidence by heat signature.

“This ability has played a crucial role in members being able to not only locate and arrest those involved in criminal activity, but to also assist in the rescue of persons who find themselves in dangerous situations,” police said in a release.

The existing thermal imaging camera is five-years-old and has come to the end of its life cycle, needing ongoing repairs. The review of the hardware began in 2014 and the budgetary process for its replacement commence in January 2015.

The province spent $1.7 million to keep Air 1 in the skies in 2014.

A report to the city’s finance committee states a portion of the $360,000 requested has been set aside. Discussions with the provincial government to secure the remaining funds for a new FLIR are continuing.

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