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Bob Layton Editorial: Edmonton police set to reveal a new Air 1

It was back in 2000, that the people of Edmonton and area decided they wanted a police helicopter.

You made enough donations and bought enough lottery tickets to put Air 1 in the sky in 2001.

The quietest helicopter available, equipped with that bright spotlight and the infra-red camera, it proved its worth many times over, catching criminals and saving lives.

READ MORE: Edmonton Police Service Air 1 team receives international awards

But, like everything mechanical, worn parts need replacing and the technology improves.

We started out with the Phoenix helicopter that was repainted to proper police colours and extensive maintenance kept it safe over the city.

READ MORE: Edmonton police officer disciplined for lying about flying helicopters

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Now, just as the new generation is showing up at your place of work, the next level of helicopter is also ready for liftoff.

On Friday morning, police will unveil the new Air 1.

It can see fugitives in the dark. It can fly farther and faster. It has new navigation and mapping capabilities. There is laser technology and other things you’ll hear about.

Doesn’t it feel good to know the police are building on the foundation you laid about 17 years ago?

Let me know what you think about that.

Bob Layton is the news manager of the Corus Edmonton group of radio stations and a commentator for Global News.

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