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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.



Anonymous said...

The DNR could be cut in half and it wouldnt make any difference. The ones stationed in OC are sitting next to stop signs and writing tickets for failure to stop.They dont need the helicopter --give it to MSP and let them go after the real criminals that sell drugs instead of a productive citizen that has a fish and inch short.

Anonymous said...

Can someone easily explain WHY they need a helicopter? Search and rescue? Ever hear of the MSP helicopters? The problem with MD government has always been everybody thinks they need their OWN. Want to go after poachers? Borrow Salisbury's fire boat. Oh, nobody trained and licensed to run it. It never ends.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of money to burn to catch somebody shooting a deer. Are they on the endangered species list?

Anonymous said...

To be honest, we don't need the NRP's helicopter and we don't need MSP being in the helicopter business. It is too costly for taxpayers. The MSP helicopter fleet is funded by additional fees added on to vehicle registrations. Taxpayers should not be burdened with this program. Maryland is the only state in the country that provides FREE helicopter medical transports. Other states use "for hire" companies and the patients health insurance pays for the helicopter. MSP is woefully short of manpower. The Troopers assigned to Aviation Division should be put back into enforcement roles to support a more important mission. When MSP went to the new helicopters, it required an extra provider on each helicopter. This further reduced the number of Troopers working on the roads and in communities as MSP was not given "additional" personnel to meet this requirement. Those extra Troopers came from the barracks and existing manpower. This is nothing more than a boondoggle and another "entitlement" program. If these Troopers want to be medics, go get a job on an ambulance or at a hospital. Troopers should be law enforcement officers not medics. Instead of being proactive police officers, they sit around for 12 hr shifts at a hanger waiting to transport someone to the hospital. Not effective use of manpower. Lastly, NRP is justifying this expense to catch "speeding boaters?" At $340.00 per hour? Are they serious? I just don't see this as being "such a problem" as to justify the expense that would be incurred. Problem is, these aviation units use scare tactics to justify their existence. They hide behind the "golden hour" (the criticality of getting someone to the hospital within the first hour). In reality, in most cases, it is quicker and more efficient to transport the injured by ambulance to the closest hospital.

Anonymous said...

As Federal agents they believe they have the world by the balls. Treating fishermen and hunters as if they're ISIS. Take their toys away and the world will still rotate as normal

Anonymous said...

Big Government! Big Waste!
Little boys with their toys

Anonymous said...

These aircrafts are fine looking transporters. Don't you think they would serve well in a parade? They could bring up the rear, taxi behind a convoy of marked Harley Davidson's. Coming to a county near you. That is only if you have enough parades to warrant it. Maybe Christmas, Easter and uh, uh.