A 16-year partnership that provided police helicopter patrols to Newport Beach and neighboring Costa Mesa has officially been dissolved, a victim of budget-tightening.
Both cities instead are contracting with Huntington Beach to provide helicopter patrol at $700 an hour.
In a final move Thursday, Airborne Law Enforcement board members -- who represented the two Orange County cities -- voted to dissolve the program. They’d earlier agreed to sell off three remaining police helicopters and dispose of 5,000 gallons of unused fuel.
"The public doesn't know, and will never know, the amount of crime fighting [the program] has done, and the amount of lives saved," said Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson.
The partnership began to teeter in June 2011 when the Costa Mesa City Council voted to end the city’s participation in the program. The board, though, continued to meet to sell off equipment and take a final accounting of any outstanding debts or claims.