UP AND RUNNING: State police hangar opens at Greenwood airport

Indiana State Police’s aviation fleet and special operations unit can officially call Greenwood home.

The new hangar for the Indiana State Police began operations this week at the Indy South Greenwood Airport. ISP’s Aviation Section and Special Operations Section are now housed in the 16,000-square-foot hangar and office space, located south of the main hangar on the airport’s property off County Line Road and Emerson Avenue.

The city, which paid for the hangar, hosted an event Tuesday at the airport, where city leaders and state police officials gathered to celebrate the opening of the new hangar, months later than initially planned. ISP moved several of its aircraft—including two helicopters—out for display at the event, and offered tours of the hangar and office space to those who attended.

“Finally, today, we are here and proud to be here,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. “This makes Greenwood a perfect location for the home base for the criminal component of law enforcement.”

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The massive warehouse-style structure has room to house ISP’s helicopters and planes. Tuesday, the hangar was filled with two state police helicopters, two planes and an Indiana Department of Homeland Security van. The entire fleet won’t be stored at the hangar all the time, but was on display for the event, said Sgt. Ron Galaviz, ISP spokesperson.

Connected to the hangar are three private offices and several cubicles for officers. The conference room, where ISP plans to have several meetings, has a large window that looks out into the hangar. The new space also features a spacious kitchen and beds for officers who work overnight shifts.

Creating a larger presence for the state police has been years in the making. The project for a new hangar began two years ago when state police were looking for a new place to move its aviation fleet from the Indianapolis International Airport. The fleet was located at the Indianapolis International Airport until 2014, when it moved to Mount Comfort, east of Indianapolis. That lease ended in 2018.

The state police then moved its aviation fleet, SWAT and dive teams from Mount Comfort to temporary housing at the Greenwood airport last spring.

“It was time for us to reset what we were doing and figure out where we would fit,” Col. Mark French of ISP said.

The state police was looking for somewhere its aviation fleet and special operations could be housed; a place that allowed them to stay close to Indianapolis, and that left room for growth, French said.

“We found all of those things in Greenwood … I’m not sure we could have done what we’ve done here anywhere else without the partnership they provided to us,” French said.

Construction of the hangar, which cost about $2.5 million, was fully funded by the city. Indiana State Police did not pay anything for the hangar to be built and will now rent the building for $5,000 a month.

ISP’s move to Greenwood is expected to increase fuel sales at the airport significantly and make the airport eligible for more grants. Eligibility is often based on the number of takeoffs and landings, city officials have said.

About a dozen officers working for the aviation fleet and special operations are housed at the hangar, Galaviz said.

The aviation fleet operates with six pilots, two tactical flight officers and two part-time tactical flight officers. Its Special Operations Section staff consists of a Major, Captain and two Lieutenants.

Special operations includes diving teams and the Strategic Planning Section, which plans for and organizes the agency’s participation and presence at major events such as the Indy 500, Galaviz said.

“Those folks will help put together manpower requests for the Indy 500, the Allstate 400, the state fair … those types of events that require a lot of state police personnel,” he said.

The hangar was supposed to be completed last year, but several delays with legal documents, then wet weather last spring put the project on hold for months.

Now that it is finished, the hangar is the largest at the Greenwood airport. It will house several aircraft, and will be convenient due to its centralized location, allowing crews to get anywhere in the state within an hour, ISP officials said.