Using helicopters to track carjackings is a bad idea

A modern blimp requires no pilot, little or no fuel, creates no noise, and can hold multiple cameras capable of independently tracking carjackers and criminals.

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A Chicago Police Department helicopter hovers outside Cellular Field before a baseball playoff series on Oct. 10, 2021.

A Chicago Police Department helicopter hovers outside Guaranteed Rate Field before a baseball playoff series on Oct. 10, 2021.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photos

Supplying the Chicago Police Department and Cook County with helicopters solely to stop carjackings is a horrible idea.

Helicopters require places to land, and have to be stored, maintained, fueled and repaired. They are noisy, dangerous and inefficient. They require a massive, permanent investment in staffing, not just in pilots over multiple shifts, but support staff, maintenance and repair staff, security, landing crews and more.

A carjacking at 1 a.m. will cause entire neighborhoods to be woken up and stressed out as a chopper chases the car. Can a helicopter actually stop a carjacking? How? By landing on a vehicle? 

If we want eyes in the sky that will record, identify and help develop a safe, effective and coordinated response to carjackings, a far cheaper, more efficient and far more effective solution already exists.

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Today’s LTA (lighter than air) technology is used in many locations for security and coordinated responses to conflicts and/or crime. A modern blimp requires no pilot, little or no fuel, creates no noise, and can hold multiple cameras capable of independently tracking carjackers and criminals.

If a helicopter has a technical problem, people may die — not just the passengers, but the innocents on the ground. If a balloon has a problem, it gently settles to the ground

Why waste many millions in taxpayer dollars when we could be more secure at a fraction of the cost? When the basic cost of a chopper runs from $2 million to $10 million a pop, not counting training, pilot, staffing, etc. Spending thousands apiece for high-tech balloons makes a lot more sense.

Robert A. Kezelis, Palos Heights

Why no one wants to be an election judge

Yesterday was Election Day. Months ago I decided to be an election judge. I did all the training and read the book.

I was very nervous because I wanted to do a great job. I arrived at my precinct at 4:30 a.m. I was the only one in my precinct. I was told I would have three other people, and “Don’t worry, they all have done this before.” 

I had to move tables and set up everything by myself. Luckily, workers from three other precincts were in the school to help me. But everyone was very busy. I called and complained and I almost walked. I stayed all day. 

Then at 7 p.m., the real nightmare started. Closing up was terrible. Luckily, some really kind people helped me. But some people just closed up their precinct and left. I wanted to cry and just leave. This is why no one volunteers to be an election judge.

Diane Blaszczyk, Norwood Park

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