APD seeks funding for a second helicopter to tackle crime
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police are asking state lawmakers for a second helicopter.
The Albuquerque Police Department added a chopper to their fleet in 2019. It typically goes up for patrols at least twice a day, giving officers on the ground a major boost.
“We talk about it as a force multiplier a lot of times because it probably takes the place of, you know, probably 6, 7, 8 officers at any given time,” said Gilbert Gallegos, APD spokesman.
However, that’s not possible during maintenance periods, which is one of the reasons why the department is asking state lawmakers to help pay for a second chopper.
“Essentially just more coverage, more coverage during the day and the night,” Gallegos said.
New Mexico House Speaker Javier Martinez went up for a ride Friday morning to see what $6.5 million looks like in action.
“It’s eye opening, I think, for me to see it happen,” Martinez said. “We saw a couple situations where things could have probably gotten out of hand, and they didn’t.”
Martinez says the price tag is not the issue, but with only a 30-day legislative session on the horizon, he suspects lawmakers will have bigger issues to tackle.
“There are bills around court-mandated treatment, for example, as we work on issues of homelessness and mental behavioral health,” Martinez said. “We’re going to continue to make not only budgetary investments, but also looking at policies to improve public safety. And we’re going to continue to work on education.”
It may be years until APD lands a second helicopter, but it’s an investment they believe pays for more than just a helicopter.
“We don’t want to spend millions of dollars with technology just because it’s nice and maybe makes things a little easier,” Gallegos said. “When you use it altogether, you can really make a dent in crime.”