FOX32/CBS2 News-Chopper grounded Police Drone during search.
August 29, 2017 – Elgin Police and Kane County Forest Preserve Police conducted a search of the hiking trails in Fitchie Forest Preserve on Elgin’s far-west side for what a caller believed may had been a disorientated elderly woman. The perfect tool for this job was our police department’s new $12K DJI drone. EPD posted at about 10am on their Facebook page about the search and it apparently drew attention from one of the local news stations who then sent their helicopter over the area.
Once the chopper was heard, the drone-pilot for the police department had to ground the drone. I was perched at the entrance to the forest preserve hoping to catch a glimpse at our police department’s new toy but instead saw a squad pull up with the drone in the back. It was then unloaded and put back in it’s case until the next time it may be called out. Did it crash too?
EPD Searching for possible disorientated woman
Just FYI for those of you with drones who live in the Elgin, Illinois area, we have 2 hospitals in town and both of them have helipads.
Legally, you are required to notify airport management (or in this case, Hospital within 2nm) before you fly your drone (FAA Reg107.43
). Even though hospital helipads are considered “private” heliports by the FAA, you are still required to make notification…….
Even police & fire Departments. (A call to both hospitals yesterday after this incident discovered that no such calls were received by anyone.). I sought further clarification from the FAA directly today and all they would do is cite 107.43 but did confirm that in the case of “hospital” helipads especially, contact needs to be made. It’s not hard, it only takes 2 minutes. It needs to be done.
My friend Tammy Chapman at Flight For Life, an EMS Helicopter provider, has made this cause for informing drone-pilots of this information paramount. It’s something I feel though, that needs to be handled more at the local-level as it varies greatly with the area you live. It may cause a few more phone-calls to the hospital’s security office (as it should) but it’s better to be safe, than sorry. Not doing so could cause a delay in response time in a life or death transport of a patient and I think it’s safe to say that if they’re being transported by air, it’s an urgent transport.
Listed below are the phone numbers for Sherman Hospital and St. Joseph’s (respectively). Ask the operator for the “Security office”. (You might want to ask who you speak with and note the time of your call as well.) I will compile a list of all hospital heliports in Illinois and Wisconsin later in the week. Hospital heliports are NOT listed on an aviation sectional chart. To find them, you can look at SkyVector.com. For our area you would enter ORD and then at the top-right corner of the screen choose “Chicago Heli”. This is what you will find for our area.
Helicopter Aviation Chart w/Legend
Sherman Hospital: 847-742-9800
This incident yesterday with Elgin Police Department having to ground their drone emphasizes the issue of “communications”. News-Media helicopter pilots in the Chicago area have a specific VHF frequency (123.025mhz AM) they communicate with each other on when over a scene. When you see 3 or 4 news choppers over something, know that they are talking to each other. That communications network needs to be expanded to include FAA Part 107 licensed UAV operations for media and public safety as well. The 2 can coexist in the same airspace safely, as long as they’re communicating with each other.
Icom IC-A24 Aviation Hand-Held
Communicating would require a special portable (aviation) radio like the one in the photo to the left as well as the procedure in how to use it. While not cheap, it truly is a necessity if you are flying for a news-organization, Police or Fire department and I can see there being some resistance by the Helicopter pilots. Let’s face it, they hate drones. While most will cite safety concerns, there needs to be just one fact brought into the conversation. There have been zero (0) deaths caused by sUAVs. You cannot say the same for EMS or News-choppers. That said, I feel there needs to be more emphasis on “Communcations” in the FAA’s 107 requirements. Also since the FAA has waived their magic-wand and made sUAVs “Aircraft” by definition so they can regulate them, there needs to be registration of aircraft and a “D-Number” issued to those aircraft if for no other reason, communications-identification.
1.How did Sycamore’s city manager Brian Gregory find out about Glenn Therialt’s self-destruction that night?
2. Will other officers from the Sycamore Police Department come forward with more information now that retaliation by their former Chief is unlikely? Apparently Theriault was not well-liked. (I wonder why?)
3. Will Elgin Police Sgt. Mark Whaley have his license suspended as required by law for anyone who refuses a field-sobriety test? If not, I imagine everyone arrested for DUI in northern Illinois will now be citing “The Whaley Clause” reciting the words “I don’t wanna take any tests!”
I also heard form sources last week that the investigation by Sycamore PD into Glenn Theriault’s self-destruction, was itself, suspended. This was substantiated today with their response for more information when they simply denied the request. Why would they do that? Here’s why….
Theriault has already caused this little city more grief than he’s worth, but if nothing else becomes of this, nothing will happen to Elgin Police Sergeant Mark Whaley, and he’s basically responsible for the entire ordeal.
According to the Daily Herald’s June 6th story, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said “Any actions taken that night by Theriault were outside Elgin’s jurisdiction”. While true, the calls to EPD’s Cmdr. Colin Fleury in the early hours of April 8th, suggest while “it was outside Elgin’s jurisdiction”, it apparently wasn’t outside Elgin’s Police Department’s influence. Whaley had already been booked for DUI and was then “un-arrested”. Also, anyone who operates a motor vehicle on any road in this state has consented to testing of his blood, breath, or urine. Anyone who fails such testing, or refuses it altogether, will have his license suspended according to Illinois Law.
Elgin Police Deputy Chief Bill Wolf later in that same DH article said this key phrase:
Elgin police launched a formal investigation — meaning Whaley could receive three or more days’ suspension. They hope to receive Sycamore’s investigation report before making a determination.”
But……if in fact, the investigation was suspended in Sycamore, there will be no “report” or findings to make that decision by. They will have succeeded once again (Remember Elgin Police Officer Phil Brown’s DUI?), in making a DUI charge against a police officer, disappear.
October 26, 2016 – EAST DUNDEE
Yesterday morning Quadcom received a phone call from a trucking company about a truck driver who had threatened harming himself. The driver was parked behind the old Wal-Mart on Rt72 in a tractor-trailer. East Dundee Police located the vehicle, slowly approached it and established communications with the driver who they’d then learned, had already sliced his arm with a box-cutter. The officer was able to keep the driver from doing any further harm to himself, and eventually (after 40 min or so) he was able to get him out of the vehicle so Fire Department paramedics could treat his self-inflicted wound.
Great job by the East Dundee Police.…but this story doesn’t end here.
After they got him out of the truck and were treating him for his injury, it was discovered that the subject was being sought by Terra Haute, Indiana Police in connection with a homicide investigation. For more on this story, check this link (http://bit.ly/2ewbni7) to a newscast regarding this individual. The subject was taken into custody after being treated at St. Alexis Hospital in Hoffman Estates and is currently at Kane County jail awaiting extradition to Terra Haute.
Again, great job East Dundee Police!!!
October 24, 2016 – On July 7th of this year, Elgin’s Chief of Police Jeff Swoboda, put released Video on their Facebook page regarding the mid-year crime stats citing that Armed Robberies were up a little, and so were burglaries….and shootings….etc. Then he made the statement that “our streets were safer than they were!” You’ll often hear him recite this over and, word for word. When he says “crime is at a 40-year low!”, know that he’s talking about one specific crime, like thefts of pencils or slimjims at 7-11. Make no mistake. Robberies are way up. Shootings are way up! In fact, let’s talk about shootings a little.
Don’t ever call me a liar on FB. I’ll hit you with facts so hard your head will spin for a week.
This past June, after EPD posted a story about a shooting arrest on their Facebook page, I asked about the other 3 shootings that had occurred within that 24 hour period on June 29th & 30th. Elgin city councilman Terry Gavin said he wasn’t aware of any other shootings so I posted actual report numbers (taken right from CrimeReports.com haha!) for the incidents and the good councilman responded “Totally false Bill!”, and said that “the calls were probably fireworks because, it IS 4th of July weekend Bill!”
So, let’s be perfectly clear for Councilman Gavin, they were in fact, shooting calls. 4 reports within a 24 hour period leading up to the big 4th of July weekend! The councilman owes me an apology, but I won’t hold my breath.
A week or so ago when EPD posted about the September 11th shootings on the east side, (yes, there’s been quite a few this year!), I asked a simple question about the second shooting that night at the same location. In all, 30 rounds of spent shell-casings were found. At the first call there were six .45 cal. rounds found. 20 minutes after officers left that call, there was another shooting where 24 spent shell-casings were found. These were 9mm. When I posted this info, the person administering the EPD Facebook page insinuated that I was lying saying that my information was wrong. Of course, what she was referring to was the timetable I mentioned. I mistakenly said the shootings were 20 minutes apart when they were 2½ hours apart, ‘my bad. The facts are, as I stated them above. I will be posting the actual reports as obtained via FOIA from the Elgin Police Department. And again…… an apology is in order, but I won’t hold my breath on this one either. I’m asking the questions that any reporter ( and I’m actually a Photographer, not a reporter!) should be asking, but since the PD has road-blocked the media from information as it happens, it’s harder than ever to get news out. I thought this was news. So did others. Chief Swoboda thought otherwise. When someone asked on FB why there wasn’t more information put out about this shooting, he responded with:
“the narrative that we aren’t posting information is false. In addition to our posts on Facebook (see below), we discussed the incident on Friday with the Fuzz, at the Chief’s Community Meeting and at the Blackhawk neighborhood meeting. We conducted two canvasses and a Walk and Talk. The information was also on crimereports.com. “
This is just a quick snapshot
of serious crimes in the past 90 days. Read the story for the full link.
Yeah….they knocked on doors, and maybe talked about it at a church meeting about Parking. This way it was contained. On Facebook, they most recently started hash-tagging the more serious items with #EPDCommunityNotification or just #CommunityNotification. That’s the best way to sift through the unicorn and puppy posts.
This is the Chief’s new ‘out’. “It’s listed on Crimereports.com so that’s being transparent”. Good luck finding things though unless you already know what you’re looking for. Yes, they did post on Facebook about doing a “Walk-n-Talk” and I’m sure he gave a brief mention about it on the WRMN radio show (who the f*** watches or listens to that crap?). And where were the local papers on this? Where was the Chicago Tribune or The Daily Herald* when this happened? 30 shots fired at a house…….. and not a peep! You should be concerned. Real concerned.
Here’s a quick snap-shot of the more-serious crimes in Elgin for the first 3 quarters of 2016. Give it a quick look and then ask yourself how many of these stories have been in the news?
More info coming soon!
(The Daily Herald DID report the arrest of someone possibly connected in the June 29th shooting, but simmply quoted a Press Release by EPD. The only time we find something out these days, is when they decide to tell us about it.)