State troopers help fight crime from the sky

(WXYZ) DETROIT - When police are trying to catch criminals, many times they rely on state police helicopters Trooper 1 and Trooper 2.

The helicopters are used to assist law enforcement from the sky.

"They can get to the scene very quickly," Lt. Michael Shaw with the Michigan State Police.  "Another thing is they call out things to the ground. If we are on a pursuit they can kind of watch out and tell us where the vehicle is going.  So our officers can back off a little bit and to protect our officers from getting involved in these type of situations."

7 Action News wanted to show our viewers how police crack down on crime from the sky so reporter Tara Edwards spent the evening up in Trooper 1.

The helicopter was dispatched to shine a big spotlight over several scenes to provide assistance.

 "It lights up the scene so the officer on the road can see inside the vehicle," said Lt. Shaw.  "It also reassures the officer that he has help with him right there… and lets the suspect know you don't want to mess around today."

The choppers assist law enforcement around southeast Michigan. Six full time pilots navigate them at all times.

They are equipped with night vision and other tools to track down who they are looking for.

In the past, they have assisted in rescues and other high profile searches.

"Not only is it good for chasing criminals, you can't out run a helicopter," said Lt. Shaw.  "They say you can't out run a radio.  Sometimes they don't even know the helicopter is up there.  So while they may be thinking an officer broke off in a pursuit and they are safe, the helicopter is still over head looking at them."

Trooper 1 and Trooper 2 are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week patrolling southeast Michigan.  They also take calls throughout the entire state.

State police also have a plane that is used to help law enforcement on the ground.

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