Copter used in patrols

WARREN – Police patrols that saturated some communities in Trumbull County with officers looking for lawbreakers used help from above during the two-day event.

An Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter provided nighttime air support for officers doing enforcement on the ground Saturday during the patrol’s Shield program, state patrol Sgt. William Bancroft said Sunday.

”The potential for people fleeing, getting in pursuits, fleeing on foot are actually greater at night,” Bancroft said.

The helicopter is equipped with what’s called a Nightsun, a bright, large spotlight that illuminates the area, Bancroft said. The helicopter also has an infrared camera, much like what law enforcement used to find Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in a boat in Watertown, Mass.

On the first day, an airplane provided daytime support to officers.

The saturation patrols began Friday afternoon in Niles, Warren and Newton Falls. Officers from those departments, the patrol, Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Office, Trumbull County’s Adult Probation Department, the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office and Ohio Investigative Unit were on the streets looking for drugs, guns and drunk drivers.

On Friday, the patrols resulted in 15 DUI arrests, 12 other felony arrests and 13 arrests on misdemeanor charges. Also, 28 warrants were served, five weapons were taken and a stolen car was found.

Figures from action Saturday will be announced today.

The patrol has run the Shield program for two years and brings it to communities with high rates of felony, DUI and drug arrests.