Police Helicopter Pilot

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Chicago Police Department's Helicopter Task Force Continues to Prove Itself With Latest FLIR Find!

Chicago Police Dept.'s Bell Jet Ranger HelicopterOn Friday September 4th, just after midnight the Chicago Police Helicopter and crew continued to prove it's worth by locating a murder suspect hiding in the bushes, using the onboard thermal imaging device known as the FLIR. 

At about 1205 am police responded to a double stabbing on the city's south side.  An apparent dispute over money during a late night card game resulted in a 37 year old woman and her 22 year old son being stabbed.  The woman suffered stab wounds to the neck and later died of her injuries at a nearby hospital.  The son was expected to survive his injuries.

A helicopter and 3 man crew from CPD's Helicopter Task Force responded and began a FLIR search of the surrounding area. With Officer B. Raniere at the helicopter controls, Officer T. Bansley on the radios, and Officer E. Graney operating the FLIR thermal imager, the crew located then directed ground units to a subject who appeared to be hiding in bushes in the 7600 block of S. Paulina.  A 44 year old man, believed to be the stabber, was found hiding and taken into custody. Excellent work by both air and ground units!

For several decades Chicago was the only city out of "the largest 10 cities in America" who did not own or operate a single law enforcement helicopter.

The Chicago Police Department did in fact operate 2 helicopters during the 1970s but disbanded the unit in 1979 due to budgetary reasons. 

Chicago PD's helicopter unit was re-constituted in January of 2006 with the addition of a single Bell Jet Long Ranger helicopter.  By 2007 the helicopter underwent significant upgrades with the addition of a moving map system for navigating the city streets, and the Forward Looking Infrared camera system.  The department soon added a second helicopter, another Bell Jet Ranger which is outfitted with the same hi-tech equipment but even includes an Exploranium Gamma Radiation Detector for uses such as detecting dirty bombs. 

Shortly after the first high-tech upgrade the Chicago Police Helicopter Task Force utilized the new equipment to track down and help arrest a man wanted in the shooting of a Markham police officer, after the suspect had fled into a wooded area at night time.  During the same weekend, the same helicopter tracked a man who fled from a drug and weapons raid in Glenwood Ill, resulting in his arrest. 

Again, excellent work by the Chicago Police Helicopter Task Force!