Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 14, 2024
San Jose Police Department's Helicopter Unit Aids in 68 Arrests, Enhances City Safety in Active MaySource: San Jose Police Department

The San Jose Police Department's helicopter unit has had a notably active May, aiding in the apprehension of 68 suspects and the recovery of two handguns. Dubbed "AIR 3", this high-flying LEO asset has reportedly also been instrumental in reducing the need for high-speed chases and thus the risk to community safety. A shining example was provided on May 15, when AIR 3 played a crucial role in locating and guiding ground officers to arrest a suspect who sought refuge in an apartment complex after a stabbing incident.

In a city where the balance between effective policing and community relations has to be finely tuned, AIR 3 seems to have found a place of value. By not only helping to quickly resolve incidents but also directly committing a large number of personnel hours to searches, its effectiveness was detailed in a recent social media post by the San Jose Police Department. For instance, on May 28, a suspect who had lit fires and endangered fire department staff was found to quickly dart across roofs and fences. He was eventually found hiding in a residential yard, thanks to the 'eye in the sky' that helped lock down the area for a swift arrest.

These aerial operations are not just about capturing suspects; they have a community engagement component as well. AIR 3 has made appearances at numerous community events, which suggests an effort to bridge the gap between the police and the citizens of San Jose. They are offering a face to the operations that often seem detached when viewed from ground level.

While AIR 3 has been credited with saving over 400 personnel hours, which implies an increase in departmental efficiency, the long-term impact of this program on community relations and crime rates will likely continue to be monitored. In the meantime, San Jose residents can rest a bit easier knowing there is one more asset on their side in the fight against crime.