RCMP helicopter an important ‘tool’ for law enforcement in Red Deer, Central Alberta

Known by its call sign Mike Poppa Poppa, Alberta’s RCMP police helicopter has become a valuable crime fighting tool in Central Alberta.

The helicopter, one of three pilots and a tactical flight officer landed at the Red Deer Regional Airport to talk about the importance of the aircraft in police operations.

Red Deer RCMP’s officer in charge Supt. Ken Foster said having the helicopter sends a strong message to people committing crimes.

“You can’t run away from a helicopter,” Foster said. “It’s that simple.”

He also pointed to the how the helicopter helps enhance the safety of his officers and the public.

“The old days of high-speed pursuits and chasing people all through hill-and-dale are gone,” said Foster. “It’s such a dangerous activity and the risk to the public is high. Having an aerial platform to observe the movements of the vehicle and help direct the police resources is just good business.”

Chris Gaunt, an RCMP pilot for 30 years, focuses on the flying component of the helicopter despite the many police applications of the helicopter including search and rescue, supporting the RCMP Emergency Response Team and assisting with apprehension of people fleeing from custody.

The pilots work with a flight tactical officer, who supports police on the ground from the air.

Const. Jason Wells is one of them.

“It gives you the advantage of an aerial view,” said Wells. “Getting a view over top of a scene helps with officer safety.

“Suspect apprehension too, especially at night, the helicopter is equipped with infrared.”

Wells said the infrared camera provides a huge benefit when tracking suspects at night. The ability to find heat signatures can help ground officers locate suspects. There is also a regular camera that helps track suspects and a spotlight called a “night sun.”

The helicopter regularly operates in the Central Alberta area, though Foster admits he’d like to see it in Red Deer more.

“We’re giving information to members on the ground to help plan and safely execute what they’re doing,” Wells said.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

Red Deer readies for supervised drug consumption site

Now all we need is an application for one

Rent subsidies for Asooahum Crossing tenants sought from Red Deer city council

Coun. Lee feels the city should be ‘last resort’ for housing subsidy requests

Castor murderer denies he’s a killer

Jason Klaus tells courtroom he loved his family who were murdered in December 2013

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month