MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan State Police helicopter is flying over the cities of Muskegon Heights and Muskegon Friday after several violent crimes in the area.
There have been seven homicides in Muskegon Heights, a city of less than 11,000 people, since late April.
Marquis Gresham, Robert Lee Dawson, Rayshun Day, Jake Rameau, Dmetrius Washington, Sandra Detty and just last Thursday Dequarius Love have all been killed.
“It’s all about helping the folks on the ground and its all about keeping the people in the community safe. That’s what we want to do,” said Sgt. Jerry King with Michigan State Police.
King said the chopper gives police an advantage, the pilot are not only able to see where suspects are, but also where they aren’t.
“Its a force multiplier and by that I mean, we can see 10 or 15 blocks at a time from our altitude versus one unit seeing a quarter of a block. So it gives us the ability of seeing a lot of ground at one time,” said King.
The chopper came to help after requests from a local MSP post, Muskegon Police and Muskegon Heights Police.
“We’ve had some issues in the heights in the last couple of years so I’ve been working with the law enforcement folks to get them all the help they can get. Because we need to make sure the people are safe here,” said State Senator Goeff Hansen.
State Senator Goeff Hansen represents the 34th district, which includes the cities of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights.
He said he has been paying attention to what is happening in the area and hopes having the MSP chopper over the cities helps stop some crimes from happening.
“I really hope that by bringing in extra troops it is going to help and we can get people off the streets that shouldn’t be there. We need to get guns off the street. We need to make sure that the people that are causing the problems that we’re able to catch them right away and put them where they belong,” said Senator Hansen
Senator Hansen said the chopper is a short term solution, and there is a need for a long term solution.
“A more long term solution is actually getting in and talking to, working with them (kids) in the schools. Working with the families making sure we have intact families. Working with the kids all the way through and helping them get jobs.”
The helicopter will fly until about midnight and then return to Lansing. Sargent King said it isn’t the last time the chopper will be in the area.