Helicopter, Bomb, and Arson Units


The brave members of law enforcement have one of the toughest jobs in the country. Every day, they leave their families, strap on body armor, and keep communities safe. Over the past few years, their jobs have been made even harder as they face budget cuts, attacks on their profession, and radical wings of our society who target them with violent attacks.

This week at the Kansas City Citizens Police Academy, we were able to hear from the Helicopter and Bomb and Arson units.

The Kansas City Police Department has three MD 500E helicopters in its fleet. Eight dedicated officers operate the helicopters daily and protect the region. A common question that was asked, and one that I had, was why the police department needs helicopters? Are they just for car chases?




We learned that the Helicopter Unit patrols the city from the sky for a minimum of four hours per day. As they fly above the city at an altitude of approximately 700 feet, the pilot and observer listen to the scanner for calls as they come in. Oftentimes, the officers in the helicopter are the first to the scene and can assist officers on the ground as they arrive. The most common calls that the helicopter unit helps on are armed robberies, shots fired, missing persons, vehicle/pedestrian pursuits, structure fire, and hit-and-run vehicular crashes.

The police helicopters are equipped with high-powered spotlights, cameras, and infra-red cameras. This allows the police to track suspects and criminals better as they are on the run.

We also were able to learn from the Bomb and Arson Unit. These officers are often forgotten, but they have extremely important and dangerous jobs. The Bomb and Arson unit consists of eight officers who undergo hundreds of hours of training all across the country. When bombs or explosives are discovered, the unit responds to the scene, day or night. The department has a plethora of equipment at its disposal. In the past, the unit relied on some homemade tools, but today the department has state-of-the-art equipment supplied by the FBI.

When possible, the unit utilizes remote control robots to approach suspicious packages or explosives. Still, sometimes the situation forces officers to put on a bomb suit and approach the explosive on foot. This is always a dangerous situation, as the officers do not know what they are walking into.

The Bomb and Arson Unit does not receive as much praise as they deserve, and this is partly because much of their work goes unseen. They prevent tragedies from happening, and everyone in Kansas City should be eternally grateful that they put their lives on the line every day.




Chris Vas is the Executive Director of Liberty Alliance. Liberty Alliance is dedicated to supporting the men and women of law enforcement, and is leading the investigation into Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ illegal defunding of the Kansas City Police Department.

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