COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Columbus police helicopter crew that spelled out the department’s initials during an early morning patrol over a residential neighborhood committed no misconduct, an internal review has determined.
However, the department’s flight rules will be updated to “remind” all helicopter crews not to loiter over residential areas without a clear law-enforcement purpose, The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday. The newspaper obtained the report through a public records request.
The two-person crew said the maneuver wasn’t planned, but carried out after they noticed on a flight-tracking display they had unintentionally spelled out what resembled a “C” while on patrol April 17. The pilot decided to continue on to spell out a “P” and “D” while they awaited their next call for service.
Officials have said the maneuver took about 10 minutes to complete, was done at normal altitude and didn’t result in any missed calls for service or additional fuel usage. It was conducted over a “random area of the city” that included some residential area, something which the report said was “not intentional.”
Some city officials have criticized the officers’ actions, calling the incident “a joyride” and a waste of taxpayer dollars.