The Guilford County Sheriff's Office could soon have a new plane in the sky.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved $150,000 in federal forfeiture funds for a replacement aircraft last week. The plane is estimated to cost around $450,000.

Sheriff's Office 1st Lt. David Cook said this is money that has been seized from drug dealers and other criminal enterprises. He said the air support unit assists in operations such as criminal investigations, missing endangered persons and patrol overwatch.

Cook said last summer the department's aircraft was used to more safely resolve a few vehicle pursuits.

"By using the airplane versus having the patrol officers pursue the vehicles we were able to keep citizens safe because all these happened during normal hours where there's a lot of traffic," he said.

The Sheriff's Office has been operating its air support unit since 2008. According to the department, the current aircraft's engine has reached the maximum allowable flight hours and must be replaced.

The department's current airplane has been in use since 2010.

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