A state police helicopter will make routine patrols over Grand Rapids and surrounding communities as part of an effort to curb violent crime.
Lt. Chris McIntire, commander of the Rockford state police post, tells MLive.com that the decision was in the works for some time, but a spike in violent crime at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 pushed it forward.
McIntire said patrols are an extension of efforts discussed in February by U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr. to stop violent crime.
The patrols started this week and will continue through June under the current plan, but may be extended. Previously, state police flew over West Michigan when requested or during special operations such as searches for marijuana growing operations.
Helicopters routinely patrol Detroit, Flint and Saginaw.