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Cop chopper to fly soon Part II

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A couple of days ago I wondered aloud if Winnipeg’s 75 per cent drop in auto theft in the past few years has meant a similar decline in the number of high-speed police chases.

The reason being if there has been a drop, that the helicopter will have less work to do.

Here are the numbers as supplied by the Winnipeg Police Service:

2010 (Jan-Sept 1st) = 53 pursuits (There have actually been an additional eight pursuits this year since Sept 1, but police do not have the details on those ones yet).

Of those 53 pursuits from January – September of this year, 36 have been stolen vehicle related.

2009 – 58 pursuits in total, 26 stolen vehicle related

2008 – 51 pursuits in total, 28 stolen vehicle related

2007 – 96 pursuits in total, 59 stolen vehicle related

2006 – 160 pursuits in total, 113 stolen vehicle related

You can come to your own conclusions about the need for a helicopter.

On Wednesday Freep city hall reporter Bartley Kives reported that new police helicopter will be in the air by Dec. 15.

Mayor Sam Katz told reporters the aircraft will be in Winnipeg within a month but is not certain how it will be unveiled to the public.

The Winnipeg Police Service's $3.5-million Eurocopter Canada E-120B Colibri is being outfitted in Fort Erie, Ont. Training flights will take place before the helicopter begins responding to incidents, police chief Keith McCaskill said last week. It will cost $1.3 million a year to operate.

Katz said the city is still looking at a corporate sponsorship deal for the helicopter, but said no such deal is in place.

"We are working to see if we can get Winnipeg Free Press on there," the mayor joked.

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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