NEWS

Police helicopter hovering over Quebec student protests cost $1,762 an hour

10/04/2012 11:22 EDT | Updated 12/04/2012 05:12 EST
The two helicopters that buzzed over downtown Montreal monitoring the student protests cost taxpayers $1,762 and $445 an hour respectively.

Those costs, obtained by Radio-Canada through a freedom of information request, include the operations and maintenance of the equipment.

The Sûreté du Québec refused to release how many hours the helicopters were actually used during the months-long protests and the total cost for their use.

At least one of the helicopters was out on a near-daily basis at the height of the student protests in late spring.

Police argue releasing that that information would reveal too much information on police operations, which could in turn pose a threat to public safety.

According to a document outlining the SQ's helicopter service online, the team deployed by helicopter for police operations includes at least three people: a pilot, a commander and a project manager.

Other experts are also included in the team depending on the operation.

The most expensive helicopter, a Bell 412 EP SQL, was used most often during the protests, according to Radio-Canada.

That helicopter can accommodate 13 people and is equipped with search lights, an infrared camera and an autopilot system.

Earlier this year, the City of Montreal revealed, through an access to information request, that the student protests had cost the city more than $11.6 million in overtime as of Aug. 7.

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