Town Without a Chopper Pays for Officers' Flight Lessons

A Mercer County town that doesn't have a helicopter will pay more than $38,000 for flying lessons that were taken by two police officers.

Officials in West Windsor, N.J. agreed to make the payment in exchange for the police union agreeing not to bill the town for such lessons in the future.

An arbitrator in January had ordered the town to pay after reviewing the police contract which reimburses officers for college classes in nearly any subject.

With the latest payment, the township has shelled out more than $53,000 on flight classes for the two officers, who are working toward degrees in flight aviation technology, since 2011.

The small town of nearly 22,000 had been fighting since last year to not pay for the lessons.

Officials said in the town's history, they've never owned a helicopter or asked any staff to fly one, according to a release. They've called the lessons impractical for township police work.

Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh says the township is working to tighten the language of the next contract, which is under negotiation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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