On Wednesday, January 11, the City of Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa Police Department cut the ribbon on a new hangar facility for the Helicopter Unit at the Tuscaloosa National Airport.
The 13,500 square foot hangar, funded through Elevate Tuscaloosa, more than triples the amount of storage for police helicopters, and mechanical equipment, as well as office space for the department’s operations.
"When we passed Elevate Tuscaloosa in 2019, we pledged that public safety would be one of the cornerstones,” Mayor Walt Maddox said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Today, 20% of every dollar from Elevate goes directly into public safety, allowing us to invest in projects like this one.”
This hangar replaces one built nearly 50 years ago to house just one helicopter. The new facility houses four helicopters and the Air Patrol division, which includes five pilots and two mechanics.
“Our Helicopter Unit is very important to us,” Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said. “We use our helicopters for a wide range of things, including search and rescue missions, high-visibility flyovers during the holiday shopping season, directing game day traffic and more. This new hangar allows us to keep all of our helicopters in top physical shape to ensure we can have a helicopter in the sky whenever we need to.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony also included District 2 City Councilor Raevan Howard, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, and Lieutenant Chris James, who leads the Helicopter Unit.
Learn more about the TPD Hangar project here.