Local New Mexico law enforcement are utilizing a new helicopter program to help fight crime. According to KRQE, Valencia and Torrance Counties have launched the Helicopter Airborne Law Enforcement Operations, or HALO, program to cut down on property crime, help in search and rescue missions, and act as a deterrent to criminals. The program was created a company called Vertical Limit Aviation.

“It doesn’t matter where they go or where they try to hide, we’re going to see them,” said HALO Pilot Douglas Christian, owner of Vertical Limit Aviation.

As KRQUE reports, Valencia and Torrance Counties each pay Christian to be their eye in the sky while law enforcement conducts operations on the ground. Thus far, the program has proven to be successful.

“We’ve reduced our crime rate, just having the helicopter in the communities and rural areas,” Torrance County Sheriff Heath White said.

“It’s been instrumental in helping us locate stolen vehicles,” said Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard, who also added that the helicopter has helped reduce property crime and track down offenders.

According to KRQE, the helicopter serves as a “force multiplier” by adding the equivalent of 15 officers to search capabilities.

“For us to move through the county and cover that much area, the air support is absolutely essential,” said Burkhard.

Each county pays $7,200 a year as part of the HALO program.

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