The Police Department's beleaguered helicopter program received a boost last week when the City Council voted to spend $150,000 of one-time reserve funds on increased police service.
The 3-1 decision followed complaints from several residents, as well as Councilwoman Donna Smith, that criminal activity has disrupted their neighborhoods.
Police Chief Richard M. Tefank said he will use the money to expand aerial patrols from two to five nights a week, the level at which the program operated before it was cut during June budget sessions. The current program costs $140,000 for about 4 1/2 hours of flight time on Saturdays and Sundays.
A similar effort to restore helicopter service was undertaken in September when the council approved a $100,000 increase in the program, boosting the number of patrols from two to four nights a week. However, the council had not determined a method to pay for the increase and rescinded the measure the following week.