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Winnipeg Police Service

July 19, 2019

Winnipeg Police Service Media Release
For Immediate Release

MNP Review of AIR1 Complete

Last July, MNP LLP was retained by the Winnipeg Police Service to conduct a review of the Flight Operations Unit (FOU). The evaluation objective was to look at the FOU to determine its success in supporting the Service in the detection of criminal acts and the apprehension of suspects, conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and to develop and present evidence-based conclusions to the WPS.

The review included opinion surveys about the effectiveness of AIR1. An external public survey showed that most respondents felt that AIR1 increased public safety. Seventy percent of people also agreed that the use of AIR1 provides a safer option for vehicle pursuits. In addition, 75% of sworn officers surveyed feel the helicopter increased their safety and reduced risk.

The report indicates that WPS members believe AIR1 could and should be used more. Seventy percent of officers responded that they have been involved in at least one call where AIR1 provided support to ground units. Staff in the Communications Centre indicated they could dispatch the helicopter in significantly more situations if it was available. The review also found that the FOU should increase its capability and capacity to spend more time in the air on an annual basis.

The review reaches 23 conclusions, including that Winnipeg needs and will continue to need several modern tools to support operations, the presence of the helicopter is enhancing citizen perception of safety in their neighbourhoods, and that data collected since 2014 suggests a greater number of arrests are made when the FOU is involved in an event.

MNP LLP's review finds that the police helicopter, with its current operational model, and based on its unique abilities, is a good use of WPS funds. The helicopter is able to respond to incidents more quickly than ground units, enabling more timely intelligence and safer tracking of suspects.

The Winnipeg Police Service would like to thank MNP LLP for its engagement on this important project. Next steps for the WPS will be to continue to review the findings, develop an action plan and determine possible cost implications.

The report can be found here.

    • Last Update: July 19, 2019

Constable Jay Murray, Public Information Officer
Constable Dani McKinnon, Public Information Officer
Constable Claude Chancy, Public Information Officer
Kelly Dehn, Manager of Public Affairs

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