Indiana State Police's new eye in the sky

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana State Police's new helicopter, 507 Sugar Pop, is on-call 24-7.

In the helicopter's first month and a half, it's responded to all types of calls. Most notably, the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School last week. It quickly got to the scene and provided officers on the ground with a valuable eye in the sky.

The chopper is packed with technology. Some of it is classified, but police say it has the latest GPS technology, allowing troopers to know exactly where they are and easily communicate that to first responders on the ground. It also has a high-powered infrared camera, radios to talk to multiple agencies, and the ability to stream live video to the ground. 

"This is the first new aircraft we've purchased since the 1960s," said ISP Captain Dave Bursten.

While many police and fire departments have turned to drones over the years, state police say the benefits that a chopper provides almost always outweigh a drone. They say the helicopter can cover a large area in minutes, something that would take a drone more than an hour. 

The helicopter's primary role is for search and rescue. It was credited for finding an Alzheimer's patient in a matter of minutes in its first week of service. 

"One person had fallen and broken his leg, probably if he had spent the night where he was, the weather was still cold, he probably wouldn't have survived," Bursten said.

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