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Georgia State Patrol begins work on new hangar | News

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Georgia State Patrol begins work on new hangar
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A new Georgia State Patrol hangar is coming to the Perry-Houston County airport.

They just started clearing the site on Tuesday.

"We've pretty much outgrown this facility," says Sgt. Hamilton Halford with the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Division.

The helicopter hangar at the airport is gearing up for some big changes.

"It's going to be a brand new, modernized facility," Halford explains.

The new hangar will be a "24-hour facility," which means it will include a living area for the pilots and tactical flight officers.

"The Perry hangar going to a 24-hour operation will be readily available at a moment's notice."

That way, instead of commuting from home, they can be ready to take off within 10 minutes. Right now, they have two pilots and one tactical flight officer on staff. He hopes to get that up to five or ten on staff.

"Our goal is to reduce that response time," Halford says. "That was one of our main reasons for going this route."

That means they have more time for the mission. Halford says a few examples of what they do are dropping water on fires, photographing fatal traffic accident, surveying the sites of tornadoes or other disasters, and search and rescue.

Halford says it will save GSP costs in the long run with a copter-maintenance area on-site, rather than flying to their headquarters in Kennesaw.

At a time when Bibb County is considering drones as part of Public Safety, Halford says they may be used in the future, but for now, they already provide that kind of service all over the state.

"I can do everything a drone can do, plus more," he says.

Just one state patrol helicopter is based in Perry, but a larger hangar will let them expand their staff and have room for another helicopter.

He says this new facility will allow them to get to emergencies sooner, when minutes matter.

Houston County will pay for the hangar out of reserve funds, which will cost an estimated $800,000.

They do not have a completion date yet.

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