We investigated why the Cleveland Police chopper was not in use the night of a 25-minute chase that ended with police shooting and killing a driver and his passenger.
We've learned the chopper has not been used lately for regular patrols, even rarely flying at night. The problem: short staffing. The unit has been down to one full-time pilot. Another is being trained.
During the chase that ended in gunfire, officers called out for the chopper. One transmission went like this: "Is the chopper up?" "No chopper."
Months ago, government leaders had talked about making the chopper a regional weapon to be used by area police departments. They would share the cost. Cleveland Council Public Safety Chairman Kevin Conwell says he is looking into whatever happened to that idea.
Cleveland's Safety Director has said he supports making Cleveland's police choppers a regional crime fighting tool.