BILLINGS - It's been in the works for a long time, but the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office finally has their own chopper.

Weighing in at 2,000 pounds and topping off with a speed of 120 miles an hour, criminals in the county don't stand a chance when this thing is airborne. 

YCSO was able to get the new helicopter through an army surplus program. For you military buffs, it's a retired OH-58 Jet Ranger.

"This was actually a green Army helicopter when we brought it back here. We flew it in from California," Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said.

The new chopper is a big deal in itself, but it's part of a much bigger story.

Sheriff Linder flew the bird to Riverside west park where the neighborhood put together a block party to "Back The Blue" after police worked to protect residents during a standoff earlier this year.

"We're all so grateful for law enforcement and the protection that we received that day," neighbor Becca Egan said.

The SWAT standoff that took place on April 23 is also a big reason why families lined up to get a look at the new chopper.

"It was time to reconnect and develop some relationships, so we can call each other whenever something is scary," Egan said.

Sheriff Linder says they called in a helicopter owned by Billings Flying Service to help deputies that weekend, and seem grateful to have their own eyes in the sky now.

"That standoff on the west end, [the helicopter] was so crucial and instrumental in tracking down the suspect that ran from the vehicle. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known what house he was in," Sheriff Linder said.

"We're just grateful that we were there and could call and get help, and have help be just around the corner... and have really concerned neighbors that were looking out for each other," Egan said.

Recommended for you