MSP Chopper Changing Patrols In Grand Rapids

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– The mayor of Grand Rapids, George Heartwell says “it has become a source of concern for citizens, I’m one of those citizens who has been kept well awake into the early morning hours.” He goes on to say it gives a false perception that the city isnt safe. The MSP helicopter has been buzzing around Grand Rapids for weeks. Monday we showed you some folks started an online petition to ground it, saying it was an annoying violation of privacy and now the mayor has joined the critics.

“The inconvenience, the noise the spotlight the kind of activities that are disruptive to peaceful neighborhoods” said Heartwell. While MSP says the chopper has helped as a deterrent; some in the city have expressed concerns, a petition against it growing with signatures daily.

During a Grand Rapids council meeting Monday morning, the Mayor said he was going to ask MSP to limit their aerial response after getting so many calls from citizens. Michigan State police says it’s not that they will no longer be in the city, they just won’t be doing routine patrols instead they’ll be used when asked by the city for help.

MSP says it’s not making the changes because of complaints, it’s just time to re-evaluate where resources are needed. MSP says it slotted fly time for the city of Grand Rapids for the month of April, May and just into June.

“This was a pilot project from our department to bring some aviation units and patrols to Western Michigan. We just reached out to Grand Rapids because of the violence they had in the early winter months but also cause they’re the biggest department, so we could look at some of the trends they were having, some of the needs they were having” said Lt. Chris McIntyre of the Rockford Post.

Now it’s time to analyze that data and determine where the chopper can best be utilized next. “Their kind of looking at that evidence based policing that they have to help them deploy the helicopter and all of our resources in the right places so their kind of re-writing a script if you will right now” said Lt. McIntyre.

MSP says one of the hot spots it’s looking at, possibly Muskegon Heights. “Muskegon heights area has enough crime to require state police and some of the local jurisdictions to come in and give them a hand during the summer time because they’re so short-staffed. So we’re focusing our efforts right now on how were going to help Muskegon Heights police department combat some crime this summer.”

But most importantly MSP wants people to remember what this asset is really about.

“Ensuring that if something major were to happen we have that “eye in the sky” we can get down and help the officers on the ground put somebody in jail and take care of the threat a lot quicker. It’s also for the safety of the police officers down there.”

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8 comments

  • Rhea Coykendall

    Okay. Hilarious. So…..the governor gets with the fusion center…puts the chopper in the sky in Grand Rapids. The local police tell us that is is an order at the state level, and there is nothing they can do about it. They even reminded us that although they are officers, they are citizens also, and do not like the chopper patrol either. My daughter puts up a petition to have the chopper program removed. Then they try to tell us…that the city council got together and decided to nix the program. HILARIOUS. They could meet every day….all day long…and there is nothing they could do to have it stopped either lol. But you go city council….lol. THANK YOU LACEY ANN BARKER, FOR HAVING THE CHOPPER PATROLS STOP.

  • Truther

    The city wants to make sure people understand the city does not listen to the people who pay their salary…
    We must understand who is in charge…and "we the people" have no say…

    A tendency that has proliferated over the past 4-5 years

  • K-Dude

    Hey Heartwell the helicopter is not what gives people the impression the city has a crime problem, IT'S ALL THE CRIME!!!

  • Sparky

    Thanks much for reporting on this Fox17.This MSP whirlybird must have circled over my northern Wyoming neighborhood for a good 20-30 minutes a couple weeks ago.I even videoetaped it.I counted a half a dozen passes and there were no reports of the MSP even assisting local law enforcement in any crime on this day,a Thursday.I have no problem with these if needed,but it seemed like intimidation to me,on this Thursday afternoon.Nodody wants to hear or see a noisy lawn mower in the sky,just for show.I appreciate law enforcement as much as the next guy but buzzing our neighborhoods for no reason seems like a 'show of force'.I hope it makes the bad guys think twice.The rest of us like to live in our homes,walk in our backyards,and enjoy them .This isn't Detroit.

  • Leemare

    Stay out of Muskegon Heights, too. This is like searching without a warrant. Inflicting a light wielding, low-flying, loud helicopter on a community doesn't make that community better or safer, it adds stress to that community. The no-doubt very expensive helicopter is looking for places to go because it is someone's pet project and now they need to prove that it was a worthwhile purchase. Our state tax dollars at work.

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