The helicopter will join the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office’s (SJSO) Aviation Unit, replacing the unit’s elderly Bell OH58, which has been in service with the agency since 2015.
The helicopter is equipped with a Garmin G1000H NXi Flight Deck, and is equipped with a Rolls-Royce 250-C47E/4 turboshaft engine with dual digital full authority digital electronic control (FADEC). It has a maximum cruise speed of 246km/h, and a maximum range of 624km. The helicopter has a maximum endurance of four hours.
“The new avionics and upgraded engine will deliver increased readiness and reliability that is critical to the vast mission portfolio of St Johns County Sheriff’s Aviation Operations Unit,” said Lane Evans, Bell’s Managing Director for North America.
St Johns County is a largely rural area, centered on the city of St Augustine on Florida’s east coast. It has a crime rate to match, with an annual crime rate per 1,000 residents of just 5.27. Despite this, the county has a number of major roads passing through it, including Interstate 95, US Route 1, and Florida State Road A1A, and county’s eastern side is also intersected by waterways such as the Matanzas, San Sebastian and Tolomato Rivers. Consequently, the new helicopter will allow it to continue offering a rapid police response in the face of challenging geography.
Polk County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit in Florida took delivery of its third R66 Police Helicopter earlier this month.