Perot flew the new helicopter over Dallas’ Reunion Tower before landing just outside City Hall on Wednesday.
Perot said the plan to donate the helicopter has been in the works for around a year. He also revealed that he saw how a helicopter can save lives and keep the city safe after flying with the city’s helicopter unit in the 1980s.
Perot, an Air Force veteran, co-piloted the first helicopter that was the first to circumnavigate the world in 1982. His father was a billionaire who ran for the U.S. president as a third-party candidate.
“This helicopter will save a lot of lives,” Perot said during the presentation. “My family has a history of helping the Dallas police through the decades. This is just one more thing we can do to help.”
The helicopter, a white Bell 407, is twice the size of the department’s two existing choppers and can fly at 165 mph. The aircraft can carry a pilot and five passengers.
According to Deputy Chief Michael Igo, the helicopter can stay in the air for up to three hours, which is twice the flight time of the department’s two existing choppers.
The Dallas Police Department has had a helicopter unit since 1969 and has used drones since 2005, according to The DMN.
Dallas police said the helicopters are used to scan vast areas or in high-risk cases like an armed suspect hiding from officers in an abandoned building or a wooded area.
Dallas police Chief Eddie García revealed that the department’s helicopters respond to around 800 calls a month and clear about 345 of those.
Garcia added that the air support unit helps patrol officers with pursuits, SWAT operations, rooftop checks during burglaries, missing-person calls, special events, and demonstrations.
Garcia said the new helicopter will increase the department’s efficiency and capabilities because it can carry more people and fuel.
“This is an immediate and direct impact to reduce police response times to our citizen calls,” García said.