SLED seeking permission to buy helicopter

      By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's law enforcement agency is seeking permission to buy a new two-passenger helicopter that can assist state and local investigations.

      The State Law Enforcement Division will ask approval Monday from the Joint Bond Review Committee to spend the estimated $3.5 million. It wants to use money confiscated during investigations and fees collected for criminal record searches.

      The agency considers a new helicopter a budget priority. Officials say the purchase would ensure that two helicopters remain available for use.

      SLED currently has four helicopters. Its large, 10-passenger helicopter is used for transport missions. Two existing two-passenger helicopters were built in 1987 and 1989 and frequently need repair. And its Vietnam-era helicopter is out of service and must be returned to the federal government for lack of parts.

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.