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Jane Felice-Boudreau, Candidate for Sheriff of Oakland County Calls for Investigation of Sheriff's Office





West Bloomfield, MI - August 28, 2012 -




On Saturday, August 18th, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office stated that it received information that a fight/fights had broken out in Pontiac, across from the site of the former General Motors Pontiac West Assembly plant. In response, the Sheriff dispatched its turbine-engine helicopter that intentionally flew at the crowd of patrons on the ground, at an unusually-low level. As a result, people on the ground were injured, property was damaged, and patrons were placed in life-threatening danger.




Undersheriff McCabe stated the helicopter never flew "below 300 feet[1]." By McCabe's own admission, the pilot violated the Department's internal policies by flying below the 500' hard deck level. Moreover, the pilot violated Federal Aviation Regulations.




Federal Aviation Regulation 91.119 (minimum safe altitudes) clearly states:




"Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or © of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. Paragraph B states that an aircraft must maintain an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft in congested areas. Paragraph C states that an aircraft must maintain an altitude of 500 feet above the surface in non-congested areas. Over open water or sparsely populated areas, an aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure placed those on the ground in imminent danger."




In addition, the helicopter's rotor wash winds stirred up dust, gravel, and other objects. Undersheriff McCabe told the press that the crowd in Pontiac was "running for the hills[2]" when the helicopter arrived.




There were many patrol officers as well as additional staff working overtime for the Dream Cruise event that could have been dispatched to the scene. Using the helicopter was an unusual response, but typical of the Sheriff' overkill as well as a very expensive and poor use of taxpayer resources.




McCabe stated that the pilot was doing his job by "lighting it up[3]." Tactically speaking, the pilot is flying the aircraft and is solely responsible for its safe operation. The pilot is not operating the light. The tactical flight officer operates the light.




Anyone who has ever used a flashlight understands the effect of distancing a light from a surface. The higher the light from the surface, the larger the area the light covers. If you hold a flashlight near the floor - the lit area is small. As the flashlight is raised, the light covers a larger area.




The light on the aircraft was 60 Million Candle Power. That helicopter could have been over 1500 feet in the air and it would have sufficiently lit up the entire area.




Witness statements taken by local press affiliates at the time of the incident made it clear that those on the ground did not know of, had not heard and had not seen any fighting that night anywhere in the area. In fact, there were no arrests made. Conversely, earlier in the weekend, the Sheriff's Department made four (4) arrests in Royal Oak after positively identifying the patrons in question.




It is well-known that Mike Bouchard has been actively seeking higher political office for years, at untold costs to Oakland County taxpayers, while employed as Sheriff. The ongoing absence of a leader while he runs for Senator or Governor results in a void in the management and administration of any operation. This helicopter incident serves to highlight that the Sheriff's Department is adrift, and further highlights the high costs Oakland County citizens are paying.




The 2012 Dream Cruise was attended by over one million people spread across several cities. A multi-jurisdictional event of this magnitude requires a serious, even-handed, dedicated and consistently present leader.




On the day before the Pontiac incident, the Sheriff did show concern for the safety of the crowd in a separate statement to the press: "We had a few people get carried away, doing burn-outs that amounted to reckless driving. You just can't have that, three feet from where people are standing, because that car can go into the crowd so easily[4]."




In stark contrast, Sheriff Bouchard is unabashedly justifying his decision to use paramilitary force in the Pontiac incident. More importantly, he is also attempting to justify the pilot's actions when those actions put the lives of people on the ground in serious danger. One can only imagine the devastation and loss of life had the helicopter experienced a mechanical malfunction.




According to Undersheriff McCabe, the Department was involved in a legitimate law enforcement function in trying to break up a fight (and send everyone home), and "...if anyone was injured or if property was damaged, the Sheriff's Office is not necessarily responsible[5]."




As a 26-year veteran of Law Enforcement, I can state with certainty that any and all law enforcement actions taken are most definitely the responsibility of the Sheriff. With respect to Oakland County, full responsibility lies squarely with Mike Bouchard.




On Thursday, August 23, 2012, I attended the Pontiac City Council Meeting. After introducing myself as a Candidate for Sheriff, I expressed my concern about the Dream Cruise incident.




There were two other Pontiac residents who spoke at the Meeting and expressed similar concerns. One was a witness who gave an account of the Dream Cruise helicopter incident. The other resident declared on record that she submitted several official complaints to Mike Bouchard regarding the disruption and noise of low-flying helicopters that only began occurring once the Sheriff took control of Pontiac. She stated that she has videos as well as photographs of the helicopters involved.




I am a life-long resident of Oakland County and a former Law Enforcement Officer. Residents are seeking answers to this incident, as am I. Disregarding the rules and regulations of law enforcement is not the right way to lead the Sheriff's Office. It certainly is not the way to ensure the safety and peace of mind of those who live, work and play here.




Oakland County residents deserve a public servant that is consistently present and dedicated to leading the Sheriff's Office effectively and efficiently. They deserve a Sheriff who respects, honors and is committed to the position. This November, voters have a clear choice.




As candidate for the Office of Oakland County Sheriff, I would like to offer my condolences to those patrons and citizens injured due to a helicopter incident that occurred during the Dream Cruise. My condolences also extend to those whose personal and business property was damaged. My thoughts are with them.




Jane Felice Boudreau













[1] http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/19325129/2012/08/20/some-say-police-helicopter-caused-issues-after-cruise-in-pontiac?clienttype=printable


[2] http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/08/20/news/local_news/doc5031065626a83198304026.txt


[3] http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/08/20/news/local_news/doc5031065626a83198304026.txt


[4] http://www.freep.com/article/20120818/NEWS13/120818007/Live-blog-Fans-revved-up-at-start-of-Dream-Cruise


[5] http://planet.infowars.com/resistance/michigan-sheriff-uses-helicopter-to-sadistically-sandblast-injure-minority-citizens-at-detroit-car-cruise

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