Phoenix Police Buy $4.2M Spy Plane; New Aircraft Will Also Serve Extradition Needs

Budget cuts may be the norm in the city of Phoenix, but the police department is buying a new, $4.2 million airplane for extraditions and surveillance work.

The prop-driven Pilatus PC-12 Spectre is gorgeous (to aircraft geeks like us) and comes loaded with sophisticated cameras for spying on crime suspects. The Swiss-made plane also includes a pressurized cabin, commode and plenty of seats to transport out-of-state offenders back to justice in the Valley -- thus solving a problem raised earlier this year when the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office informed local police it would no longer perform extraditions.

No news release has been put out on this by the city yet, but reports that the airplane will join the department's fleet of eight helicopters. The Pilatus will "replace several smaller fixed-wing aircraft that had been operated for decades."

The plane was sold out of Pilatus' Broomfield, Colorado outlet, says an article in the Boulder County Business Report. Phoenix PD plans to take delivery of the craft by September and have it fully operational in 2010.

Ah, that new-plane smell.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.