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Officials hope Flint’s new helicopter will help discourage Halloween weekend crime

By Kendal Keys, Lauren Schott

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    FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — While families are preparing for a fun-filled weekend, police and fire departments are gearing up for Halloween mischief.

A local police chief said he isn’t relying on volunteers this year. Instead, he hopes a new tool will more than make up for their absence.

“We are hoping for the best, but expecting the worst,” Flint Police Chief Terence Green said. “A lot of criminal activity in the way of setting house fires, things of that nature. We’re always planning for gun violence.”

Green said they are ramping up patrols in a major way, but without the help of volunteers.

“Due to the uptick of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, we really haven’t relied on our volunteers as much due to the pandemic, so we’re basically doing it with our officers,” he said. “We have volunteers for our mini stations, but we’re pretty much dedicating all of our resources to bringing out extra patrols.”

Green said he plans to have 12 extra patrols out, watching the streets from the ground.

This year, they’ll have eyes in the sky too, with the help of a new helicopter.

“Part of our strategy is to have that up Saturday,” Green said. “Right now, we’re anticipating that providing back up to the officers on the ground.”

The helicopter has been a long time coming. City council first approved the funding for it in July.

“It’s a relief,” Green said. “It’s just another piece of equipment, a major piece of equipment that’s going to help us battle and fight crime.”

Green hopes the extra patrols, coupled with the helicopter, will make for a crime-free weekend.

“To know that there is an aviation unit above, and our ultimate goal with this helicopter is to deter crime, make those be aware that we’re using all our resources in order to help keep the public safe,” he said.

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