NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When it comes to crime-fighting tools, few components are more effective than a police helicopter.
According to Metro Nashville police, from November 2022 to now, the MNPD aviation division has responded to almost 1,400 calls. The chopper has been active in 865 arrests, recovered 324 stolen vehicles, and assisted in finding 135 missing persons.
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Each week, there is a growing number of arrests that showcase the helicopter’s value to Music City. Officials cite the chopper’s ability to follow suspects, direct ground units, keep officers safe, and minimize danger to citizens.
News 2 has obtained surveillance footage from November 9 that shows a chopper flying over May Drive in North Nashville tailing a suspect identified as Demarco Blackwell. The footage shows the 40-year-old parking his vehicle at an alleged drug house.
Blackwell had no idea that the chopper was watching his every move and directing ground units right to him. The footage shows officers pull up the driveway, get out, and then try and surround the wanted suspect.
The Madison man refused to surrender and drove back down the driveway where the officers were positioned. But the pilot overhead was watching and gave the officers on the ground a warning.
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The chopper stayed with the drug suspect as he sped away through a residential neighborhood. Meanwhile, ground units fall back to reduce the danger to other motorists.
Metro’s two new choppers have incredible optics and the pilot, even from a high distance above, was able to see the suspect allegedly throw a bag of drugs out his window. This all took place just a block away from Amqui Elementary School.
Trailing officers found the bag that reportedly contained 5.4 grams of cocaine, 1.8 grams of fentanyl, and 152 oxycodone pills. Officers ultimately found Molly and more pot on the drug suspect once he was arrested.
According to the police affidavit, Blackwell ran multiple stop signs and red lights and drove on the wrong side of the road, putting other motorists in danger.
With the help of the chopper, officers were able to set up spike strips and get the dangerous driver off the road without further incident.
When told of the chopper’s growing involvement in Nashville crime-fighting, citizens News 2 spoke to seemed to approve. “I think the police should use whatever they have at their hands to do their jobs i don’t know why that’s even a question,” said John Vanbuer, a nearby resident in North Nashville.
Cristy Weems added, “Yes, I guess, keeping the fast cars off the road would make sense.”
Blackwell is in the Metro Nashville Jail, charged with evading arrest, domestic assault, and multiple drug charges.