Oakland Police to ground choppers

June 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
As of Saturday, the Oakland Police Department will ground its two helicopters because of budget cuts.

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"It's going to affect public safety. We are a tremendous force multiplier in the city of Oakland. We are a tremendous asset to the officers on the ground, the citizens on the ground and this will be a big blow to both the city and the police officers," said Sgt. Kyle Thomas, with the Oakland Police air support unit.

Taking the helicopters out of service will save the city more than $375,000. The four officers who staff the chopper will be reassigned to the street patrol division.

Oakland will now have to call on the highway patrol helicopter for aerial support.

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