This year, the Delaware State Police (DSP) is celebrating a notable milestone: 100 years of providing law enforcement services to its over one million citizens and visitors. As a long-standing Bell customer for more than 50 years, DSP now relies on their Bell 429 fleet for emergency medical services, search-and-rescue operations, and law enforcement missions - all while maintaining their goal of providing professional, competent, and compassionate law enforcement services to enhance the quality of life of those throughout the state.
"DSP greatly values our long-standing relationship with Bell, and we are most proud of our 429 aircraft. The citizens and visitors of our state rely on us to transport critically sick and injured patients, locate the missing and lost, while providing aerial support for police-related missions. In turn, we rely on Bell to provide us with top-tier equipment and helicopters to fulfill this role. Bell answers this call time and time again," said Captain Jeff Whitmarsh, aviation unit commander, DSP.
Same Airfield - 100 Years Apart
First known photo of DSP troopers with an aircraft used for law enforcement purposes, mid-to-late 1920s
DSP troopers pose with Bell 429s at Bellanca Airfield, June 2023
"Our Bell 429 has become one of the most recognizable assets in the DSP fleet and we showcase it with pride at every opportunity. It is a reliable aircraft that exceeds my expectations as a pilot," said Master Corporal Carol Patron, pilot, DSP.
DSP's Bell fleet consists of three Bell 429s.
"Since 1970, Bell and DSP have maintained a strong relationship. The DSP was actually the first law enforcement agency to accept the delivery of a Bell 407," said Lane Evans, managing director, North America. "Bell congratulates the DSP on 100 years of serving Delawareans, and we look forward to continuing to support their aircraft needs."
The Bell 429 remains one of the most sought-after public safety aircrafts on the market. With its easily configurable cabin that can accommodate a large crew or critical equipment, BasixPro avionics suite, and high-performance engines, this multi-mission aircraft continues to take agencies to the next level that help keep people safe.