Flint police chief says he hopes a helicopter will be up by Devil's Night
After a number of 'hiccups, Flint police are still hoping to have leased helicopter up and running by the end of the month.
On Tuesday, Oct. 19, Flint Police Chief Terence Green told MLive-The Flint Journal that the firm to which the department has contracted the helicopter is currently seeking additional insurance.
Thats the last hiccup, he added.
The police chief stated its his hope that the helicopter will be in the air by Devil's Night, which will take place on Oct. 30, the day before Halloween.
On July 26, City Council members approved a three-month lease for the helicopter for $304,050, as heightened violence pushed the number of homicides to nearly 40 for this year. Since the council's approval of the measure, the number of homicides in the city has risen to 54.
The money must be spent before the end of the citys fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2022.
The results of the survey were announced. Police in Flint, Michigan, have finalized a helicopter contract, but look to 2022 for the majority of airtime.
The police department had hoped the helicopter would be ready for operation by the end of summer, but red tape and logistical difficulties have pushed back the launch date, Green said in September. This resulted in a delay in receiving obscene quantities of communication equipment, which then needed to be tested.
The department also needed to train three tactical flight officers.
Now, the firm is looking for additional liability insurance, Green said, noting that this last piece should be completed in a few days.
The days the helicopter will be deployed will depend on crime data, Green said Tuesday.
Going into the winter months, Green believes there is a reduction in violent crime.
Based on that notion, the chief said he is considering having the helicopter out for six weeks in 2021 and seven weeks out in 2020, depending on weather and crime trends. The helicopter contract allows for flexibility, so plans can be modified, he added.
The police department will likely revisit the second half of the contract in April, he said.
It is crucial to evaluate data and evidence to ensure that the helicopter is monitoring the city during periods when crime is high, according to Green.
One thing we dont want to do is waste the money, Green said. Just because a helicopter is in the air, we have to remember that there was.
Violent crime and homicides are currently trending downward for the year, according to him.
Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley declared a state of emergency on July 23, three days before the council's vote to approve the helicopter funding, amid heightened gun violence in the city.
At the time, homicides had risen by more than 30% from the same time last year.
According to the departments most recent crime data, updated Oct. 10, there were 53 homicides in Flint this year, an increase of more than 20% from the same time last year.
Since then, there has been one more homicide reported by police in the city.
One involuntary manslaughter, one negligent homicide involving a vehicle, boat, or snowmobile, and two cases of justifiable robbery were recorded for the year.
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