Petition Started Against MSP Chopper In GR

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A FOX 17 story earlier this month took you on an exclusive look inside the Michigan State Police helicopter, West Michigan’s newest crime fighter. Now, there’s a petition demanding its removal.

“I was putting my daughter to bed, and she doesn’t have a curtain in her window, and the next thing I know, this big bright searchlight shining through her room,” said LaceyAnn Barker, who started the petition. “It freaked her out. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Barker lives off College Avenue in Grand Rapids. In about a month, more than 350 people have expressed support for the petition, and every day dozens more sign it.

“Flying at tree top-level disturbing the community, I thought it did more harm than good,” said Barker. Those who agree say the helicopter is loud, disruptive, and an invasion of privacy. And it’s not necessary. Barker says that, while she understands the need for more patrols, she doesn’t think patrols need to be done in this way.

“We’re not going to spin around people’s houses,” said MSP Sgt. Jerry King. “We’re not going to look to see what we can see. We’re busy helping officers on the ground, so that’s our primary mission.”

Equipped with night vision goggles and a Forward Looking Infrared device, MSP says these eyes in the sky are equivalent to 10 officers on the ground. But some in the community just don’t see it that way, and after living with it for weeks, they say enough is enough.

Another issue people have expressed on this petition is the feeling that tax-payer money is being wasted. But MSP says the chopper costs less than one patrol officer a year, around $50,000, and the funding comes out of the Michigan State Police’s general fund, which is already budgeted.

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14 comments

  • Tim

    People are complaining but if something happens to them and the helicopter ain't there to help they'll complain about that

  • Elaine

    First of all, by a curtain for your daughters window! Second, I'm sure you would be the same person complaining because the police weren't doing enough if something bad happened to you. Like lets just say you get a peeping thom looking through your daughters window because you failed to put up a curtain…just throwing that out there….

  • Tracy

    Most absurd thing I have ever heard!! Lets sign a petition to ban a helicopter that is there to help stop crime!! I agree with the others….put a curtain on your daughters window and go to bed happy that someone out there is trying to protect you and your family from danger!!!

  • #MathNerd

    OK, so did I read that last line correctly? "But MSP says the chopper costs less than one patrol officer a year, around $500,000…" It costs a half-million dollars PER YEAR for ONE patrol officer? There has to be more to that than the current story addresses.

    BTW…I'm a supporter of the chopper. I just can't wrap my brain around that math.

  • buffy

    it's noisy it's intrusive it's unnecessary. just use it when there is ACTUAL need not just because someone feels like peeping/flying around for no real reason. Should only NEED to be used maybe a few times a year at most; it's not like we are like California with high speed chases going on routinely. this is just more stupidity from cops. but then again what do you expect?

  • ladyluck

    Boy are GR residents really blinded by the reality of the crime in their town. Here's food for thought…most major crimes (rape, felony assault, shootings) don't even make the news anymore because they are so common….

    Next we will hear that there isn't a gang problem either. I