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+16

Man Arrested For Flashing Laser Pointer at National Guard Helicopter

Philadelphia Inquirer via YellowBrix

April 14, 2010

CAMDEN, NJ – New Jersey Air National Guard helicopter pilots have helped Camden police with day and nighttime patrols for the last eight months or so on a “routine basis,” Police Chief Scott Thomson said Tuesday night.

“They can help with lighting up an entire block, whether it’s searching for a missing child or a suspect that’s just fled from a vehicle,” Thomson said. “There’s no hiding from that helicopter.”

Thomson’s comments came after Camden police announced that a 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with flashing a laser pointer at a National Guard helicopter patrolling with police last week, officials said.

Nelson Villalobos Jr., 32, was charged with interference with transportation, a Camden police spokeswoman said. He was released with a summons.

Villalobos allegedly pointed a green laser at the helicopter on Thursday, temporarily blinding the pilot. Police on the ground located Villalobos at Alabama and Congress Roads, sitting inside a red Dodge minivan.

Villalobos, of Independence Road in Camden, allegedly told police he thought he was pointing the laser at a news helicopter. The pointer was found in the minivan’s glove compartment.

Typically, a Jet Ranger helicopter equipped with infrared capabilities, flown by an unarmed guardsman, hovers about 900 to 1,100 feet above Camden, providing aerial surveillance, Thomson said. Members of the department’s tactical-force unit fly in the helicopter, Thomson said.

The National Guard is often used in times of natural disasters to prevent looting. But the Posse Comitatus Act, passed in 1878, restricts what U.S. military forces, including the National Guard, can do to help civilian police keep the peace in most situations.

Thomson said the Jet Rangers can hit speeds of up to 110 m.p.h. and can get around the city quickly. If need be, the pilots can bring the helicopters as close as 100 feet, he said.

He said the helicopters have scanned rooftops after burglaries, dispersed large crowds by shining a light from above, and tracked people trying to hide from police at night.

He said Camden’s tactical force unit trains regularly with the guardsmen in the Jet Rangers.

Also, at times, the department’s SWAT team trains with guardsmen in Black Hawk helicopters, doing exercises such as fast-roping, a technique for descending on a thick rope, and quick deployments.

“I try to get every resource that I can into the city,” he said.

He said a New Jersey State Police helicopter also provides aerial assistance from time to time.

The department has had a relationship with the National Guard for the last 15 years or so, Thomson said. He remembers flying with guardsmen when he was a patrolman in the 1990s. Thomson said he reached out to the National Guard to complement the city’s patrols.

“They know the city. They work with well with our folks,” Thomson said. “It’s another tool that we can utilize to help provide public safety to our residents.”


+16
  • John_groh_max50

    wiseass0282

    over 4 years ago

    10982 Comments

    Idiot should be charged with a felony.

  • Img00039_max50

    bfriskey

    over 4 years ago

    980 Comments

    wow, look at the lights ??/!!!! Yeah, see the blue ones now ?
    I always loved the Bell Jet Ranger... Never did like lights in my eyes while flying.. jackass

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    over 4 years ago

    16726 Comments

    Dumb ass

  • Img_0490_max50

    matsnap

    over 4 years ago

    482 Comments

    I don't care for the those news people, but I wouldn't go out to hurt anyone. His excuse is stupid, and I hope they charge him with a felony. If you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. People never think about the consequences of their actions.

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    over 4 years ago

    4978 Comments

    He should have done some time... he could have blinded this pilot, caused an accident and he was obstructing an arrest, just a summons! HUH?

  • 21_max50

    philfroggy

    over 4 years ago

    1564 Comments

    Not too bright

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    Stupid is as stupid does .....

  • Image_max50

    usa_24

    over 4 years ago

    5022 Comments

    This idiot does not sound to smart.

  • 375956_401447159923274_1109023972_n_max50

    Eilene

    over 4 years ago

    18372 Comments

    Not too bright is he?

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    over 4 years ago

    11362 Comments

    I think he should be charged w/ a felony...

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    over 4 years ago

    43952 Comments

    bump dallascrane.

  • Gomes_in_fire_max50

    mikeS90

    over 4 years ago

    102 Comments

    he should have stayed in jail

  • Img00039_max50

    bfriskey

    over 4 years ago

    980 Comments

    Hey it;s OK he thought it was a news copter !!!! Genius..Yep agreed, can't fix stupid..

  • Jack-sparrow-pirates-of-the-caribbean_max50

    Tetra021

    over 4 years ago

    492 Comments

    LMAO, Mesa Thtooopid!

  • Images_max50

    OFFICER_K_CPD

    over 4 years ago

    2296 Comments

    LOL, idiot.

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