Friday, March 10, 2017
MD Natural Resources Police fights to keep its eyes in the sky
Last Thanksgiving, the Maryland Natural Resources Police got something for which they could truly be thankful: A helicopter.
After seven years with no eyes in the sky, the NRP got its 1972 Bell Jet Ranger back. The police aviation unit, founded nearly 70 years ago, had been eliminated by the previous administration in a cost-cutting move in 2009, and the helicopter was transferred to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
But restoring the NRP’s aerial mobility was a priority of Mark Belton, the current natural resources secretary. So he reacquired the copter and had it refurbished for $158,000, according to NRP spokeswoman Candy Thomson. Named Natural 1, it was pressed into service almost immediately, helping the NRP catch oyster and deer poachers and assisting with search-and-rescue missions.
Now, though, after just four months, the NRP, an arm of DNR, is in jeopardy of losing its helicopter again.
at 3/10/2017 01:30:00 PM