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Columbus City Council Member Wants Review Of Police Helicopter After 'CPD' Spelled In Flight

The Columbus Police helicopter in July 2010 during the Red White and Boom fireworks.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Columbus Police helicopter in July 2010 during the Red White and Boom fireworks.

Columbus City Council member Elizabeth Brown wants a new review of police use of helicopters after a weekend flight where the pilots performed what she called "sky art."

Early Saturday morning, a Columbus police helicopter circled a southside neighborhood and flew a pattern that spelled out “CPD” after they responded to crime alerts. The pattern can be seen on the flight tracking application, FlightAware.

"Every part on that helicopter is flight mile capped by the FAA,” says Brown who spoke on Monday’s All Sides with Ann Fisher. “This flight frittered away a portion of that useful life at taxpayers’ expense.”

Brown says it was a waste of taxpayer money and caused unnecessary fear.

“It was you know right around 1 a.m. in the morning and that overhead presence falsely signaled to residents below in their beds, in their homes that there was danger in the neighborhood,” Brown says.

Last year council reviewed police conduct amid the summer's protests. Brown had called for more limits on certain police equipment like helicopters. Council members tabled the motion.

In an emailed statement, Columbus Police said, "No calls for service were missed during this time and no additional fuel was utilized, but even the appearance that officers were not operating within the mission of the Aviation Section is not acceptable."

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.