Success for Sevier helicopter service

Air One was showed off to Sevier County leaders on Friday. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Public Service Aviation shared with Sevier County leaders on Friday just how much they've helped fight crime.

The private helicopter company has been working in Sevier County for 4 months, and responded to 102 calls in the first 17 shifts. Right now the service is in a test run, while the county decides if they want to continue funding.

"Our call volume is much higher than anyone anticipated," said Jim Hickman, Co-Founder of PSA. "The program that we designed has now been and we have agencies from as far away as Georgia and Witchitaw Kansas interested in starting a program for their site."

The helicopter program uses the combined financial resources of Sevier County, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg for funding. Funding for the test project runs out in 2 months, and the group hopes to convince the county it was worth the investment.

Air One as it's called, has a goal to reach 92% of the population of Sevier County in 3 minutes. In the 4 months of operation, the chopper has beat ground units 82% of the time to crimes.

Other regional police agencies were invited to the presentation so they could learn about the program and how it could impact their communities.

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