MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Highway Patrol has recently been approved to add two helicopters to its fleet.
SCHP has followed the pattern of neighboring states’ aviation programs, like North Carolina, and said adding helicopters to their fleet can have a life changing impact.
Cpt. Hughes with SCHP said North Carolina’s Highway Aviation Program and state highway patrol have four helicopters, averaging about 760 missions a year.
Hughes said the overall purpose of adding two helicopters to the fleet is to assist public safety. SCHP hopes to put one in Columbia and one along the coast and have enough pilots to respond day or night.
“Our goal is to basically provide the best possible service to the citizens of South Carolina and those visiting it," said Cpt. Hughes. "We feel that the citizens of South Carolina deserve the same level of safety of those living in neighboring states and so we’ll continue to make sure we keep up with modern law enforcement and this is one of the ways.”
The helicopters will be provided by the military, free of charge. SCHP says they can used for bike weeks, assisting in high speed chases, amber alerts or during severe weather events.
“It will be very useful for the coastline when we have storms or natural disasters occur, like a hurricane or a flood,"said Cpt. Hughes. "People on the coast are very familiar with those incidents. It’s important that we have as much information during those times to help support other agencies or public responders.
This program is still in early stages so there is no official timeline for when the helicopters will be added yet.