RCMP helicopter to be utilized more in Red Deer

Police say it is a useful tool in many instances

IN THE SKY - The RCMP helicopter is the only helicopter in Alberta utilized by the RCMP. Red Deerians may have noticed more of its presence in the last number of months, as it can be seen flying over the City. photo submitted

The presence of the Alberta RCMP helicopter in the skies above Red Deer often prompts curiosity among Red Deerians; while the helicopter does get called in for specific situations, it also visits Red Deer and area when it’s free in support of day-to-day policing, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, helping RCMP officers in tracking stolen vehicles and pinpointing suspects who attempt to flee police.

“The helicopter is a great tool for everyday policing,” said Supt. Ken Foster, officer in charge of the Red Deer RCMP. “It offers us fantastic aerial views into treed or secluded areas that are more difficult to explore from the ground, and it’s invaluable for tracking stolen vehicles that attempt to flee police.”

Stolen vehicles are a major concern across the province, and with them come increased public safety issues, as those in stolen vehicles frequently drive erratically and at excessive speeds, run red lights and otherwise endanger the lives of citizens and the police who are working to apprehend them. The RCMP helicopter allows police to track stolen vehicles from the air, improving the arrest odds and lessening the public danger.

The Alberta RCMP helicopter has the call sign MPP and is affectionately known to many in the community as well as police officers as Mike Papa Papa, which is how its call sign letters are verbally identified in the RCMP’s phonetic alphabet.

“While the presence of the helicopter means some noise comes along with it, most Red Deerians are glad whenever they see Mike Papa Papa in the City because of the success it has in shining a spotlight on criminal behaviour,” said Foster. “The helicopter has played a part in a number of successful arrests in Red Deer over the years, and we continue to welcome its presence in Red Deer as availability permits, as part of the consistent pressure we’re applying to property crimes and those prolific offenders who are responsible for much of it.”

The RCMP’s Air Services provides direct operational support in technical and specialized areas of airborne law enforcement, enabling front-line members to preserve the peace, uphold the law and prevent and investigate crime. Red Deer RCMP appreciate this invaluable support from their Alberta RCMP colleagues.

– Fawcett