We admire the county auditor-controller's and treasurer's courage when they questioned the value of the county's $1.3-million police helicopter program. They are right. Low-flying, frequent-patrolling police helicopters waste money.
Several recent articles have included statistics from the Orange County Sheriff's Department that are intended to convince the public that police helicopters are essential to saving lives and stopping crime.
We believe that the police helicopter promotional statistics are, for the most part, irrelevant hype. For example: The statistic "helicopters are first on the scene 62% of the time" is pure hype, because the helicopter does not provide any aid or protection, irrespective of when they arrive. They just buzz ineffectively overhead. Police officers in patrol cars give aid and protection, but police car achievements are not promoted.
Helicopter promotional material would be significant if it included available new data, not from the 1960s, that correlates helicopter patrol and crime.