Police eyes in the sky: A look inside a Portland police airplane - KPTV - FOX 12

Police eyes in the sky: A look inside a Portland police airplane

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It's a multimillion-dollar program that gives Portland police officers a bird's-eye view of city streets, but until now no reporter had ever seen it. 

For the first time, the Portland Police Bureau allowed a reporter up in the skies with their chief pilot in Air 2, one of the bureau's two Cessnas.

The program is led by Chief Pilot Sgt. Josh Godchild, who has been with the bureau for about a decade.

Last year he assisted on 170 calls, many in the dark of night. An infrared FLIR camera on the bottom of the plane is vital to law enforcement operations.

On the morning of Jan. 23, a police chase ended in Milwaukie when the suspect allegedly fired a gun at officers and then hid in thick blackberry bushes.

The tactical team on the ground listened to instructions from officers in the air to narrow in on the suspect.

In the video, you can see a flash bang going off and a K-9 charging at the suspect until he eventually surrendered. The call took more than three hours.

Sgt. Josh Goldschmidt says the Cessnas, which cost about $70,000 a year to maintain and fuel, are lighter, quieter and cheaper than helicopters.

When asked about the possibility of drone technology becoming a part of police equipment in the future, Goldschmidt says it's "not a financial or a political possibility" in Portland.

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