MPD apologizes for helicopters; night two of military training features loud, unlit choppers
Can you spot the military helicopter flying above downtown Minneapolis in this picture?
You might not have seen helicopters buzzing around the Twin Cities around 11 p.m. last night, but if you live near downtown Minneapolis, you almost certainly heard them.
That's because the damn things were flying around without their lights on during the second night of joint military-law enforcement training.
Here's one video from the North Loop that gives you an idea:
Another video shot by a veteran who served in Iraq that was later posted to Facebook (unfortunately it's not embeddable) shows an unlit helicopter weaving between buildings in downtown Minneapolis.
helicoper in downtown minneapolis going crazy. no lights on. very close to buildings.
-- Nicholas Lawrence (@soundnicholas) August 20, 2014
We'd tell you more about last night's training, but next to none of the information about what's going on is public. That much was made clear in a statement released by the Minneapolis Police Department yesterday.
"Due to safety and security concerns, the exact location of the exercises cannot be released," the statement says. "The routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country and training sites and times have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents. The training is not open to the public."
On that note -- do the MPD and Department of Defense think we're all night owls? Helicopters were flying overhead at 11 p.m. last night for God's sake!
Monday night: 8pm. Tonight: 11pm. "let's scare the crap out of our residents by doing military training with low flying helicopters" #genius
-- Jocelyn Anastasia (@jsimone555) August 20, 2014
-- Emily Ul (@emilyul) August 20, 2014
In the wake of Fireworks-Gate, some tried to look on the bright side:
At least the helicopters in DT Mpls aren't shooting off fireworks.
-- Zack Farley (@zackfarley) August 20, 2014
-- Brandon Warner (@BrandoWarner) August 20, 2014
But in all seriousness, the loud training didn't just impact people in downtown Minneapolis:
I do not appreciate the second consecutive night of military helicopter exercises right over my house in St. Paul.
-- firstbass (@firstbass) August 20, 2014
Here's video of military helicopters flying over downtown St. Paul during the first night of training on Monday:
@stribnorfleet They're using special crashless helicopters?
-- § (@lawremipsum) August 19, 2014
The presence of military choppers over the Twin Cities had some comparing our cities to American battlefields of yore:
Did MPLS turn into Nam with all these fuckin helicopters? Jesus fuck
-- Chad Ahrenstorff (@cstorff3) August 20, 2014
But it should be noted that at least one thoughtful person argued people are being a bit quick to complain about training that could at least in theory be useful someday.
(For more, click to page two.)
#blackhelicopters People bitching about special forces training here might feel differently if they needed to be rescued by same people.
-- Ron Rosenbaum (@RonSRosenbaum) August 20, 2014
In any event, as the MPD statement points out, we have two more nights of this -- the training continues through Thursday evening.
And hey, at least the MPD is apologetic about the whole thing.
"We apologize for any alarm or inconvenience the training may cause," the department's statement says.
Finally, here's the entirety of the MPD's statement:
Reminder of Military Exercises in Minneapolis
August 19th, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) The Minneapolis Police Department would like to remind residents that nighttime military training exercises will continue, sporadically, through Thursday evening. The Department of Defense is coordinating and conducting the training for military members while the MPD solely maintains a supportive, logistical role.
We apologize for any alarm or inconvenience the training may cause. Due to safety and security concerns, the exact location of the exercises cannot be released. The MPD is currently working with the DOD to determine what information may be broadcast in the areas where residents are most affected. General locations may be broadcast on our twitter account, @MPD_PIO, whenever it is possible and appropriate.
We appreciate broadcast media outlets informing the public Monday evening and urge outlets to reissue the information Tuesday if possible, so as many residents as possible are aware of the training.
Similar training took place in the Twin Cities metro in 2012 and planning for the current operations has been months in the making. The routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country and training sites and times have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents. The training is not open to the public.
h/t -- Chris Steller
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