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Published April 03, 2012, 10:20 PM

New program in Valley City has pilots aiding law enforcement

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Pilots in our area have a ground-breaking idea to lessen the load on law enforcement. They're offering to fly Barnes County deputies around in times of need - for free.

Pilots in our area have a ground-breaking idea to lessen the load on law enforcement. They're offering to fly Barnes County deputies around in times of need - for free.

A one-of-a-kind partnership is taking off in Barnes County. Thirty pilots like Jon Kreilkamp are volunteering to be an eye in the sky for the Sheriff and Valley City Police, forming the Volunteer Air Force.

Jon Kreilkamp - Pilot: "We'd like to think that we are on the same team the Sheriff's Department is on."

It only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to get a pilot and deputy sheriff can be up in the air to really get a bird's eye view of what's going on down on the ground.

Jon Kreilkamp: "I tell you what, up in an airplane, you don't miss much."

Gliding hundreds of feet above the ground, Kreilkamp says volunteers will help law enforcement quickly locate missing people or suspects.

Jon Kreilkamp:"If he starts to move, I got him, it's pretty easy."

Especially those involved in a high speed chase.

Jon Kreilkamp:"I can take a look at all these hills in just a few minutes."

Sheriff Randy McClaflin – Barnes County Sheriff: "If they have four wheel drive and we have a car we can't follow them. But if we had the airplane up we could follow them."

Barnes County Sheriff Randy McClaflin says they appreciate the free, extra assistance.

Randy McClaflin: "Really it helps us, helps the citizens. The pilots are onboard the whole thing."

Kreilkamp hopes his idea will go airborne.

Jon Kreilkamp: "It's a program every town should have."

He says this unique, community and law enforcement effort will land a new level of cooperation in Barnes County.

There is no cost to the Sheriff's Department. The pilots will pay for the gas.

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