Take Two for May 23, 2013

How effective are police helicopters at fighting crime?

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

Tactical officer Greg MacDonald points his pilot Kevin Cook toward a spot to check as calls come in from LAPD dispatch.

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

An LAPD helicopter flies toward Downtown Los Angeles on December 19, 2012.

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

Los Angeles police office Greg MacDonald surveys the streets of West Hollywood during a call about a disturbance at a hospital below.

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

The view towards Santa Monic from a shift with the Los Angeles Police Department's helicopter division.

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

A police helicopter takes off from the Los Angeles Police Department helipad in Downtown. During the day, there is always one helicopter in the air patrolling the city skies.

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

Lt. Phil Smith walks across the tarmac helicopter facility, the largest helicopter landing pad in the United States, on August 22.

LAPD Helicopter

Grant Slater/KPCC

Lt. Phil Smith leads the helicopter division for the Los Angeles Police Department.


The LAPD has the country's largest fleet of helicopters with 17, with a total cost of nearly $20 million a year. KPCC's Erika Aguilar spent time learning how the fleet operates, and looked through LAPD statistics to find out how effective the helicopters are in fighting crime. Read more here.

RELATED: See part 1 of Erika Aguilar's series on police helicopters in Los Angeles

RELATED: See part 2 of Erika Aguilar's series on police helicopters in Los Angeles

RELATED: View a slideshow of the LAPD's helicopter fleet on AudioVision


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