Winnipeg police under fire for loaning helicopter to film shoot
Published Tuesday, January 9, 2018 8:41AM EST
The Winnipeg Police Service is in hot water after allowing its taxpayer-funded helicopter to be used for a Hollywood movie shoot.
The helicopter, dubbed “Air One,” was deployed for 72 minutes on Dec. 20 to participate in the film shoot, police said Monday. That 72-minute flight time included take-off, travel, shooting and the return flight to the helicopter pad.
“We flew it and it was filmed being flown,” Insp. John Lutz said at a police news conference.
Const. Rob Carver added that the film producers covered the cost of the helicopter’s operation, and that the aircraft could easily and quickly have been rerouted if it was needed for police operations. He also said the helicopter was not taking the place of a private helicopter.
“This was not a question about the Winnipeg Police Service or a City of Winnipeg asset being used in competition with a private business,” Carver said. “That simply was not the case here.”
Nevertheless, many in Winnipeg have criticized the move, including Mayor Brian Bowman, who did not find out about it until more than a week later.
“The police helicopter is a very specialized piece of equipment, the use of which should be limited to supporting police and public safety operations,” a spokesperson for Bowman said in a statement. “Mayor Bowman has communicated his concerns regarding the use of the police helicopter with the Chief of Police in order to better understand the rationale and policy surrounding the allocation and deployment of the police helicopter in circumstances such as this.”
On Screen Manitoba, which represents the media production industry in the province, said it’s not out of the ordinary for cities to collaborate with movie productions.
“It’s not unlike other requests that you would see right across Canada and other jurisdictions,” Nicole Matition, executive director of On Screen Manitoba, told CTV Winnipeg. “It’s really about accommodating the shoots in a way that the city or the municipality determines to be effective.”
The film, titled “The Parts we Lose,” stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scoot McNairy and “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul. The film is about a young boy who befriends a dangerous fugitive, according to IMDB.
With files from CTV Winnipeg