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Maryland scuttles plan to close state police helicopter base

October 12, 2020 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan has announced that state officials will no longer consider plans to close a Maryland State Police helicopter base.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reported Friday that some Eastern Shore lawmakers were concerned that one of two bases there would be vulnerable to the cut. But they rejoiced Thursday after the Republican governor’s announcement.

The cuts were being made because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the reduction would have meant that state police would have to close one of its seven helicopter bases.

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“For more than half a century, the Maryland State Police Aviation Command has been conducting lifesaving medevac flights,” Hogan said. “Our administration is committed to making sure Maryland’s finest have all the resources they need to continue their excellent service to the state and the region.”

Maryland officials had hired an outside consultant to examine which base to close. The consultant found that MSP’s current helicopter system delivers “an outstanding response rate” and that its helicopters get to the scene of an incident within 25 minutes on average.

Closing one helicopter base would have significantly and negatively affected the response rate and the response time, officials said.