We often assume that every large city in America has a police aviation unit of some type, but that assumption is not always correct. Who knew that Newark New Jersey has been without a Police Air Ops unit, at least for the past 5 years or so. In all honesty I haven't had time to research whether or not they have ever had an air unit, but this Friday marked the maiden flight of their police helicopter, a refurbished OH-58 military surplus helicopter.
Newark PD took possession of the bird in 2006 but until now did not have the money to retrofit it with the necessary police equipment. Things such as police radios, spot lights and P.A. systems are basic necessities if you are going to be at all effective as an aerial support platform. However, the department was recently able to use Homeland Security funding to bring the helicopter up to current law enforcement standards, to include a video-camera system.
Chicago PD was without a police aviation unit for about 10 years. It was re-established about 2 years ago with a Bell Jet Ranger, and a Bell Jet Long Ranger. The OH-58 helicopter is the military version of the Bell Jet Ranger helicopter.
Still searching for a photo of Newark's new Police Helicopter.