Columbus police called out for helicopter ‘joyride’

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two Columbus City Council members have called out the Columbus Police Department for what one said was a “joyride” taken by a police helicopter early Saturday morning.

The flight path of the helicopter, according to FlightAware, which tracks flight paths across the country, shows the helicopter took a path that spelled out “CPD” on the south side of the city.

According to FlightAware, the helicopter was in the air from 12:03 a.m. to 1:36 a.m. Saturday.

A statement Saturday afternoon from Columbus Police said the flight did not miss any service calls or use additional fuel during the flight, but said the appearance of the officers not performing their job was “not acceptable.”

On Twitter, Columbus City Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown posted a screengrab of the flight path, saying, “A joyride is is (sic) NOT essential work.”

Last June, Brown proposed limiting the police department’s ability to purchase military equipment and decrease the department’s helicopter fleet from five helicopters to four.

The statement from Columbus Police said the helicopter responded to several runs during the flight, including a stabbing and an assault in progress.

Columbus City Councilman Rob Dorans called the flight “plain dumb” in a tweet.

The full statement from Columbus Police is below:

Today, Columbus Division of Police leadership became aware of negative online comments about a helicopter patrol flight conducted early this morning. Commander Robert Sagle, who oversees the Aviation Section, is reviewing the flight pattern and details of the flight.

The CPD helicopter took off for a regularly scheduled 1 1/2 hour patrol flight beginning at 12:03 a.m. The pilot navigated throughout the city during the flight and responded on several high priority runs, including a stabbing and an assault in progress. During time between dispatched runs the pilot flew a pattern which spelled out “CPD” when later viewed on a flight tracking application. This took less than ten minutes and was conducted at normal police altitude. No calls for service were missed during this time and no additional fuel was utilized, but even the appearance that officers were not operating within the mission of the Aviation Section is not acceptable.

The Helicopter Unit strives to fly neighborly and works hard each day to assist patrol on high priority runs and crimes of violence.

Columbus Police statement on patrol helicopter flight

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