From navigating Virginia’s coastal plains, populous major cities, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Virginia State Police provides law enforcement and emergency services to more than 8.5 million people throughout the state. When their everyday mission brings diverse challenges, the Virginia State Police relies on their six Bell aircraft to successfully complete lifesaving missions. Most recently, the Virginia State Police purchased a Bell 412 EPi to further support emergency medical missions, expanding their Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) and search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
Since the mid-1980s, the Virginia State Police Aviation Division operates out of one law enforcement base in Lynchburg, VA and two MedFlight base locations in Richmond, VA and Abingdon, VA. Both MedFlight bases serve more than 40 hospitals and partner with large-scale emergency service agencies such as Ballad Health, VCU Health, and Chesterfield Fire Department who provide flight nurses and paramedics for health services in-flight.
“The State Police Aviation Division is Virginia’s only law enforcement agency with hoist capabilities,” said Captain Shawn Rivard, Aviation Division commander, Virginia State Police. “Having the adequate aircraft to provide such an essential emergency service is critical to state police’s ability to fulfill our rescue and medical response missions as safely and efficiently as possible.”
The Bell 412 EPi will expand the Virginia State Police’s emergency services fleet. With modern flight technology, pilots can use high-resolution maps and terrain data on four displays to easily navigate in challenging environments. This multi-mission ready aircraft has the capacity to seat up to 14 passengers, fitting all the crew and medical equipment needed for emergency missions.
“Due to the spacious interior of the Bell 412, we were able to design the aircraft to dedicate one side to rescue personnel and operations, and the other side to accommodate a full-length stretcher so as to enhance patient transport and treatment,” said Rivard.
The Virginia State Police Department expects to begin operations with its Bell 412EPi this Fall. In preparation for its arrival, Virginia State Police pilots completed specialized Bell 412 flight training at the Bell Training Academy (BTA) in Fort Worth, TX.
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