TPD Explains Why Chopper Was Over Terence Crutcher Shooting

Thursday, September 22nd 2016, 9:04 pm
By: News On 6

We've heard several people wondering why Tulsa's police helicopter was in the air during the shooting of Terence Crutcher, and if officers on the ground thought they needed air support.

TPD said it keeps the chopper at the air park near 36th Street North and Tisdale and use it daily.

Where they keep the chopper is only three to four miles from where the shooting happened.

From the air, the chopper video shows the crew is looking for Officer Betty Shelby. She's been reporting that a man is refusing to follow her commands.

Crews in the air are connected to the same radio system as crews on the ground. So, just like the other patrol cars, they are tuned in if an officer needs back up.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

Officer Jeanne MacKenzie said, "Any call a normal officer would respond to, our helicopter could respond as well."

Particularly on the day of the shooting; the crews flying the chopper had just taken off from the air park five minutes before the call went out and getting to the scene by air wouldn't have taken much time.

"It can get to a location quicker than a patrol vehicle can,” MacKenzie said. “What may take an officer three or four minutes to get some place the helicopter can be there, if it’s in the area, it can be there between 30 seconds to a minute."

MacKenzie said she can't talk about the specifics on why the chopper picked that scene to fly over, however, a chopper responding is quite common.

"We try to have it out as much as possible, so, not necessarily when you see it or hear it is something bad happening," she said.

As for Shelby being married to one of the men in the chopper, MacKenzie said that just happened to be the shift.

As for the video camera kicking on a recording, the pilots, just like ground crews, can activate it when responding to a scene.