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Copters to bust speeders

A new program will see airborne officers pacing traffic on Glenoaks Boulevard, notorious for speed.

June 02, 2007|By Jason Wells

As of April, 7,304 traffic citations were issued throughout the city, according to police reports.

It was unclear how many of those were issued for speeding, or were issued on West Glenoaks, but Adams said it was in the thousands.

The numbers, and the complaints they elicited from nearby residents and business owners, spurred the extra layer of enforcement, authorities said.

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"Today is the day when we'll look back and see the tide has turned," said Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian at the conference. "The city of Glendale simply will not put up with it."

The new program will use all three helicopters in joint Glendale/Burbank Police fleet, with another scheduled to come online later this year. Burbank pilots will also be used for patrols as part of the joint-operating agreement signed in May.

In developing the air operation, Glendale Police took a page from the California Highway Patrol, which has had its own airborne enforcement program for about 30 years. Police pilots were certified in pacing vehicles from the air within 5 mph and took part in several fly-alongs with CHP officers. Traffic court judges and district attorneys were also briefed on the mechanics of the program to ensure a smooth flow for the citations through the legal system, Adams said.

"Municipal agencies don't usually do this; but we have the tools, so why not use them?" he said.

Since the traffic operations will be folded into the daily flight patrols of the helicopters, the financial impact of the program is expected to be minimal, Nicolaisen said.

If the operation proves successful, it could be expanded to include more streets in Glendale and perhaps Burbank, officials said.

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