(WMC-TV) - Four Memphis police helicopters have been grounded for days and now there are allegations that insurance money for one damaged chopper has been misplaced.
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong says even though all of the department's helicopters have been grounded for maintenance and basic repairs, everything is being done to get them back up and running.
"There was a mandatory recall on some of the parts from the helicopters," he said. "Some of the helicopters have older parts. It's difficult to order the parts and in some instances these parts have to be made."
An anonymous tipster told Action News 5 that at least one of the helicopters had been damaged in a recent accident.
Armstrong confirmed that one of the choppers suffered damage during a training exercise.
"We have received a payment from the insurance money and we're going to make sure those funds are either allocated for the repair or the purchase of a new aircraft," he said.
However, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's couldn't verify the amount of the payment or how the money will be spent.
A spokesperson said the mayor's office will look into the matter.
Armstrong says the helicopters have only been down for over a week, but many are wondering what that means for the pilots.
"We're expecting them to be back up this week," Armstrong said. "We will have 2 of our aircraft back in the air this week, so they'll return to their normal duties."
If there is an emergency or the need for a helicopter, the DeSoto County Sheriff's Aviation Unit will be asked to assist