Pima County Sheriff's Department defends chopper use following crash

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Two days after the fatal Pima County sheriff's department helicopter crash there are still no hard answers on why the chopper went down.

But after Monday's fatal helicopter crash, many were wondering what the Pima County sheriff's department chopper was doing up there.

"We are many years into developing a very large radio network that affords everyone in this community to talk to each other," said Chief Kastigar from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

And waterman peak was a potential location for a new radio tower to support that effort.

Right now, the different law enforcement agencies in Southern Arizona communicate on different radio frequencies.  Something the chaos following the 9-11 terrorist attacks taught us, is a bad way for law enforcement to function.

"Radio interoperability was the biggest concern and what likely resulted in some needless deaths," said Chief Kastigar.

Chief Kastigar is unable to answer questions about what led to the crash. The federal government is in charge of that investigation.

But he is able to comment on reasons the flight took place.

The sheriff's department purchased the helicopter with money given to the department from homeland security.

Some have questioned whether using it to scout locations for a radio tower was proper use of the air craft.

Chief Kastigar says yes. 

"That very clearly falls under the guidelines of what the homeland security grant stipulates," said Kastigar.  "The number one priority is related to interoperability."

The search for a site to put those radio towers will go on.

The chopper was insured but no word on when it will be replaced.