HPD ranked as one of largest air operation units in the U.S.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Police Department has one of the largest police air operation units in the country.

The department has at least eight MD-500 helicopters in their fleet. The model was selected by the department because of its safety.

RELATED: Houston Police helicopter crashes, killing 1 officer and critically injuring pilot

The helicopters are usually referred to as "Fox," which responds to high-speed pursuits and SWAT scenes. The choppers are also used to assess storm damage, perimeter control, surveillance and protecting dignitaries.

In 2017, Houston police were given an award for flying more than 200,000 hours without an incident.

In July of 2019, one of the department's helicopters made a hard landing near Hobby Airport. During the patrol flight, the aircraft turned on it's side. Both officers on board were able to walk away without any serious injuries.

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