On Friday Sept. 25th Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson announced the return of the state police air support unit to northern Louisiana. State Police will be basing one Bell Oh-58 police helicopter, and 1- Cessna 172 fixed wing aircraft out of the Ruston Regional Airport.
It has been 24 years since LSP had an air unit based out of this region. If a local sheriff or police department was in need of air support during this time period, they would normally have to wait for a state police helicopter to respond from Alexandria LA., normally a 30-45 minute wait.
The move back was made possible by a cooperative agreement between the Northern Louisiana Legislative Delegation and trucking magnate James Davison. Davison will be offering free hangar space to the new unit at the Ruston Airport.
The Louisiana State Police operate approximately 16 aircraft in total to include; 2 Bell 430 turbine helicopters (pictured above), 1- Bell 206L4 (Long Ranger), 1-Bell 206L3 turbine helicopter, 3- Bell OH-58 helicopters (military version of the 206), and 8- Cessna fixed wing aircraft which includes 172s, 182, and the 310.
In a time when many agencies are cutting back on their air support units it is nice to see an agency take steps to improve coverage. Kudos to the Louisiana State Police, politicians and the citizens that made the move possible.