Contact: Warren Strain, 987-1390

Department of Public Safety and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Sell Helicopter Will Use $388,000 Per Year Savings For Crime Fighting

(Jackson, Miss.) - Governor Haley Barbour, along with Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner Rusty Fortenberry and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) Director George Phillips, today announced that the MBN has sold its helicopter, a move that will save the drug-fighting agency more than a $388,000 dollars a year. The helicopter has been sold to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for $530,781.

Recognizing the need for better coordination between state law enforcement entities, Governor Barbour restructured his Administration with Legislative approval so the MBN reports to the DPS. Under the reorganization, the MBN no longer needs its 2001 Eurocopter EC12B for overt and covert drug operations because the agency will have access to either of the two helicopters that are already a part of DPS's inventory.

"DPS and MBN have worked hard to find cost savings as part of our 'Operation Streamline' efficiency plan, which will aid in eliminating Mississippi's now $411 million budget shortfall," Governor Barbour said. "This is a win-win situation because we are saving money while at the same time not lessening our effectiveness in fighting crime."

"As public servants, it is incumbent upon us to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money. At the direction of Governor Barbour, we continue to put into place means to better manage the agency's budget and this is just another example of doing that," said Public Safety Commissioner Rusty Fortenberry.

"Selling the helicopter frees up money we desperately need. Our partnership with the Department of Public Safety continues to yield benefits," Phillips said.

MHP has two helicopters in its inventory, one marked and one unmarked.
"It makes sense in these difficult budget times to consolidate resources where we can. This is a perfect example of that prudent use of our assets," said MHP Chief, Colonel Marvin Curtis, Jr.


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741