Broward Sheriff's Office Cleared for Purchase of Fourth Helicopter for a Cool $6.5 Million

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The Broward Commission gave the OK yesterday for $6,505,593 to come out of the Law Enforcement Trust Fund for the purchase of a brand new helicopter for the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The BSO already has three other helicopters -- the most recent one purchased in March 2010 -- but the sheriff's office apparently needs a brand new one, because the three other helicopters are having "increasing maintenance issues."

There was a pair of dissenting votes from commissioners yesterday, but Sheriff Al Lamberti and crew still get what the local weathermen would likely refer to as a "whirlybird."

Lamberti actually showed up at yesterday's meeting just in case, and despite getting a couple of questions from commissioners about the purchase, the commission deciding how the BSO uses the Law Enforcement Trust Fund -- which is funded by liens and forfeited property in criminal procedures -- is more of a formality.

For Lamberti's thoughts on the matter, we strongly recommend you fast-forward to the 1:48 mark in Local 10's broadcast yesterday, which can be found here.

The new helicopter, which is supposed to be ready to go by fall, will be used for law enforcement and emergency medical purposes -- just like the BSO's other three helicopters.

Letters and memos attached to the commission agenda explain how the other three helicopters are just inadequate because of all the maintenance they need.

The one bought used in March 2010 cost about $2.5 million, but apparently the BSO needs a new one this time -- hence the $6.5 million price tag.

"Purchasing another used helicopter is not the best route to go for the acquisition of an additional helicopter," Bureau of Grants Management director Michael Somberg wrote to the county budget director. "Finding another helicopter with low flight hours as a result of an estate sale is not an option at this time and a new helicopter will allow BSO to have it built to our specifications and it will have a two-year warranty which will significantly reduce overall expenses for its operation."

The other three are having "increasing maintenance issues" -- both scheduled and unscheduled -- and only one of the three helicopters has been working about 67 percent of the time.

Also, for the three current helicopters, the BSO generally keeps two pilots on per shift.

The letter from Somberg explains that they're going to increase helicopter usage at the sheriff's office, and predicts that the new $6.5 million helicopter purchase will eventually be a cost-saving measure.


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8 comments
glass slipper
glass slipper

These helicopters spend an unusual amount of time in Deerfield Beach, why not just put more cops on the beat or better yet make the the cops already employed DO THEIR FUCKING JOB!!!

CrookPatrol
CrookPatrol

Lamberti and his gang shouldn't be thinking about buying helicopters at this point in the game.  They may not be around much longer after that book.

FQS9000
FQS9000

Who says cops are smart.  This proves the exact opposite.  An utterly stupid expenditure of taxpayer funds.

JOEYPAD
JOEYPAD

waste of taxpayer money

anonymousinftl
anonymousinftl

you neglected to point out how many helicopters Dade and Palm Beach have and the number of pilots they employ.  I was watching the broadcast and the sheriff made it quite clear how much more is needed compared to our neighbors. I think Dade has 15 and Palm Beach 7.  But I do not exactly remember.  That's an important fact left out of your story

Abe Fortas
Abe Fortas

The voters and County Commission should veto this project immediately and approve nothing further from this Sheriff's administration until the conclusion of various serious state and federal investigations into their criminal and ethical conduct. No one will miss another high dollar item like this helo. It is all BS. The County needs to speak loud and clear about what they think of this continuing and non-abating problem. If the items are needed, then let's wait for a new Sheriff to make the proposal. Lamberti and staff have zero credibility. It's not as though these people even share a common political alliance. The Dem commission should be more than happy to dis Lamberti. And do not be taken in by claims of spending Law Enforcement Trust Fund money from criminal seizures!!! That money can be far better spent for the direct benefit of each city instead of Lamberti and his Crime Family. Or how about returning it the treasury to relieve taxpayers of other wasteful projects?

FQS9000
FQS9000

That only means that there will now be 18 extraneous helos in south Florida, as anybody can get to any hospital in any county in 10 minutes or less if they turn on the flashy light things.  As for LE operations, it can't be really needed more than 4 times per year, as cruisers should be able to catch most of the local punks.  This is just cop trendyness.  If these helos had to be paid for out of the police management pension funds, they would have never been bought. 

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Ain't gonna happen by this rubber stamp commission. The whole concept of seizure and forfeiture funds is flawed. How many have been screwed over by this concept? It is a license to steal in some cases. Plenty of room for corruption and misuse.

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