Sheriff Ahern is getting a $3 million chopper

The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X was unveiled in 2017 and is able to fly high altitudes. The chopper costs $2.9 million, according to an Alameda County Sheriff's Department staff report.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern received approval to purchase a helicopter worth $2.9 million. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved funding for the Bell 505 JetRanger X on Tuesday morning.

The five-seatbchopper is billed by sheriff’s department as containing the “state-of-the-art public safety mission equipment to serve the citizens of Alameda County.” It includes the day and night camera capabilities and a multi-agency radio system.

The helicopter will be used for “in-progress crime,” search and rescue missions, and for use by firefighters, the sheriff’s office wrote in a staff report. The Bell 505 JetRanger X debuted in 2017.

The Board of Supervisors action Tuesday approved a $404,019 down payment on the helicopter to Bell Textron, Inc.

The sheriff’s department will use $642,609 in federal asset forfeiture funds for the purchase. The remaining $2.3 million comes from the East County Development Fund.

The county’s General Services Agency approved the sole procurement of the helicopter because the $2.9 price tag was more than $2 million cheaper than a similar type of aircraft, the MD530 F helicopter made by McDonnell Douglas

There board’s vote, however, was not unanimous. It was pulled off the consent calendar by Board President Richard Valle, who subsequently voted no without explanation.

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