Denver police are trading their helicopter for a new $5 million chopper

Man, these things lose value fast.

A Bell 407 GXP helicopter operated by Thailand's Bureau of Royal Rainmaking & Agricultural Aviation at Khon Kaen. (Alec Wilson/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

A Bell 407 GXP helicopter operated by Thailand's Bureau of Royal Rainmaking & Agricultural Aviation at Khon Kaen. (Alec Wilson/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The Denver Police Department is ready to spend nearly $6 million on a replacement helicopter.

The department hopes to trade in its existing Bell helicopter, which is 20 years old, for $500,000. That money will go toward the purchase of a Bell 407 GXP chopper.

The new helicopter has a base price of $3.1 million, plus about $2 million for police add-ons and another $762,000 of interest payments. Most of the money will come through Banc of America Public Capital Corp under a capital lease, which essentially means this is a rent-to-own situation.

The interest rate on the money is 3.2 percent. The bank was selected through a competitive process.

The new helicopter will have better cockpit safety, night vision and infrared systems, according to a city presentation.

The Denver City Council will have to approve the capital lease and each of the annual lease payments of about $487,000. The new helicopter is expected to have a useful life of up to 15 years, according to city records.

The council’s finance and governance committee on Tuesday forwarded the proposal to the full body.

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