BCSO relaunches Metro Air Support Unit
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After nearly a year of being grounded, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office helicopter is taking to the sky once again.
BCSO Sheriff John Allen suspended the air unit immediately after taking his oath of office in 2022.
Allen says the previous administration was irresponsible in relaunching the helicopter too soon after a crash killed four first responders.
So, for the last year, BCSO has made multiple changes to keep our deputies safe in the air and on the ground.
Allen says their Air Support Unit has come out of last year’s tragedy bigger, stronger, and most importantly, safer.
“We all know about the tragedy, I’m not going to rehash on that. What can we do to make sure we try to prevent another tragedy like that? What did they see in the past that we can actually do better? It’s all about improvement,” said Allen.
They have hired new pilots, new mechanics, and set limits on how long people can work.
There is also new equipment like the heliwagon to easily get the chopper out of the hanger and in the air – quickly and safely.
“It’s totally remote control, we have several remotes for this,” Allen said.
They are also making the helicopter safer.
“These helicopters as safe as they are, if they crash, there’s a lot of jet fuel onboard. And so when they were first designed, they just didn’t have crash resistant tanks. So we spent a lot of money buying that tank that we’re going to throw into this helicopter,” said Allen.
BCSO’s first flight in Metro 1 was on Tuesday, and the Air Support Unit was itching to get back in the skies.
“So we’ve been doing a lot of flying, but we haven’t been out there actually catching bad guys, and that’s what we love to do,” said Allen.
The helicopter didn’t take off Wednesday due to high winds, but Allen did announce they plan on buying a second helicopter in the spring.