HOUSTON -- Numerous sources within HPD's Helicopter Unit say they are upset because the department's fuel budget was just cut by 75 percent.
And now the choppers, which are used for public safety, are just sitting on the ground for most of the day.
"I have received information today that the helicopters have been reduced from about 20-plus hours in the air to about 3 hours in the air per day. That is unacceptable," City Council Member C.O. Bradford said.
Bradford knows a lot about the fleet. He spent 24 years with HPD and for seven years he was the police chief.
"We have about a dozen helicopters sitting out there costing about a million dollars each and they are new. These helicopters are probably two years of age or less. We cannot afford to have those helicopters, and all of the technology inside those helicopters sitting on the ground," Bradford said.
KHOU 11 News confirmed Monday that a new Bell 412 helicopter, purchased by the federal government for HPD, will arrive soon.
When it gets here, sources inside HPD said mechanics will drain all of its fluids and store it in a hangar. It will not be used.
"You can bet I will be calling the police chief, asking the mayor to do what we can do in this city to get that safety tool back in the air," Bradford said.
Even though HPD's budget has been cut by $40 million, Bradford and Houston City Council Member James Rodriguez say the helicopter cuts are a concern because it affects public safety.
"We need to find the resources in this city to get those helicopters back into the air," Bradford said.