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Operational Value of Police Helicopters: A Cost-benefit Analysis

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 4 Issue: 3 Dated: 2002 Pages: 233-247
Paul C. Whitehead
Ian K. McKenzie
Date Published
15 pages
This cost-benefit analysis was conducted to determine whether there are savings that can be identified as being a result of the use of a helicopter in police work.
The costs used in this study were based on the actual leasing and operational expenditures for the use of a helicopter for 1,000 hours for a 1-year period. Benefits were measured in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The monetary value of policing time that is saved by canceling the attendance by other police officers and the amount of police downtime saved when the helicopter is used define "efficiency" in this study. "Effectiveness" is defined as the monetary value of higher rates of apprehension when the helicopter is involved by considering the value of greater detective time to affect the balance of the apprehensions. It was also found that at least 25 percent of the cost appeared as a (saving) benefit. Also, if the helicopter were used differently, the benefit could be higher, at least 42 percent of the cost. A variety of non-monetary contributions unique to helicopter contribution increased the above referenced benefits. Tables are included showing, for example, occurrences to which police helicopters responded; frequency of first on scene and percentage of time first on scene; apparent time saved as a result of police helicopter canceling police officers for various occurrences; apparent time saved when helicopter was involved in various types of occurrences; efficiency, initial net time saved from officer down time and officers cancelled for 21 types of occurrences; effectiveness in apprehensions and comparisons of occurrences where the helicopter was involved with those where it was not involved; and average annual cost of detectives. References


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