TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuscaloosa Police helicopter pilots will be keeping an eye out for criminals from the air during the holiday season.
From now until December 25th, Tuscaloosa Police will be using helicopters to patrol over shopping malls and stores while people do their Christmas shopping. Officer Jarrett Ivey is a pilot with TPD. He says the goal is to protect shoppers from thieves.
“We hope it makes them feel safer to give them a sense of security when they are coming and going,” Ivey said. “They have their packages to put in their cars and walking back and forth to the stores and we will do what we can to keep shoppers safe.”
Tuscaloosa Police have been doing the Christmas operation known as Shopper Chopper for twenty years. There are four pilots and three helicopters in the program. Pilots will randomly fly over local malls and shopping centers between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Officers say the choppers will be especially beneficial for officers at night when they can use the spotlight on the chopper to zero in on any suspicious activity.
“We want to send a message to the criminals that we will be looking for them and if we catch you, you will go to jail.”
Police encourage shoppers to still be aware of their surroundings, lock their car doors, and keep valuables out of sight.