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Helicopter patrols coming to area of West Mich.

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Muskegon Heights Police Chief Lynne Gill said the air patrols would begin this week over the Muskegon area. He offered no details on the planned frequency of the patrols, but said they provide a big boost to officers on the ground.

"If you have a shots fired call and you have a helicopter with a light, you can see much better," Gill said. "You can get from point A to point B a lot quicker."

State police officials said last month they were curbing patrols over Grand Rapids after receiving multiple noise complaints. They said it had less to do with those complaints and more to do with a drop in crime and greater needs elsewhere.

Lt. Chris McIntire, commander of the state police post in Rockford, has said authorities believe the patrols will be beneficial to curb gun violence in the area. Similar rationale was raised in Grand Rapids, which authorities say saw a spike in violent crime late last year and early this year.

Gill said the Muskegon-area patrols will focus on areas with large crowds and where problems persist.

Helicopters routinely patrol over Detroit, Flint and Saginaw.

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