Escambia County Sheriff's helicopter unit grounded

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The Escambia County Sheriff's Office is
grounding its two helicopters, citing budget woes.

Officials say it costs nearly $800,000 to operate the unit, including salaries, benefits, maintenance, supplies, fuel and parts, in fiscal year 2008. This year, the agency may have to slash $6.5 million from the department's nearly $79 million budget.

The Panhandle law enforcement agency has had an air unit since
October 2001.

It's been involved in everything from high-speed car chases to helping find people who are lost in the woods or on the water.

The choppers' final flight will be on Friday.

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