Metro Police to use helicopters for Black Friday surveillance - WSMV Channel 4

Metro Police to use helicopters for Black Friday surveillance

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Thousands of people are expected to once again fill malls for Black Friday shopping. (WSMV file photo) Thousands of people are expected to once again fill malls for Black Friday shopping. (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Metro police are ready to catch shoplifters and burglars on Black Friday this year, and they’ll be conducting surveillance on the ground and in the sky.

The Metro Police Aviation Unit will have a helicopter with two pilots patrolling various malls and shopping centers on Friday and Saturday.

Sgt. Kurt Knapp said they usually hover at about 500 feet, and can watch over an entire parking lot from one position.

“The helicopter moves a lot, so with those binoculars it stabilizes it so we can get a good look at people,” Knapp told Channel 4. “We can pretty much almost read a license plate with the binoculars.”

Pilots will be communicating with officers on the ground, monitoring mall entrances, exits, and parking lots looking for people breaking into cars and shoplifting.

“If you buy things, keep them locked in a trunk or out of sight,” Knapp said. “If you just leave stuff laying in the back or front seat it takes less than a second to pop a window and snatch that stuff.”

The helicopters can even perform surveillance in the dark using night vision goggles and forward looking infrared cameras, or FLIR, to search for criminals on the ground.

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