Thursday, November 10, 2011

Helicopter Joyride

I'm not too excited about writing this post. Why? 'Cause today's story wasn't fun to shoot. Why not? 'Cause there wasn't much to shoot!! Now if I'd actually gone up in the helicopter that would be different... but... uhhh... no. That would have been wrong because the whole reason a helicopter ride became a news story was due to an anonymous letter accusing a Deputy of using the Sheriff's Department helicopter to take his girlfriend on a joy ride. I imagine taking a news photographer for a ride would also fit under inappropriate use.

A few years ago, Orange County had a huge scandal involving the Sheriff's Department, one that resulted in Sheriff Mike Carona and others going to jail. It's a long, involved story and if you want to know more, just Google the former Sheriff's name. The reason I bring this up is because Orange County is now extra-sensitive about any hint of corruption in the department.

So of course, the Sheriff's Department and the Board of Supervisors snapped to attention when they received this anonymous letter:

The letter alleges a supervisor of the helicopter crew took his girlfriend on a taxpayer funded flight around Orange County. The reason this harkens back to the aforementioned scandal? Assistant Sheriff Jaramillo was also accused of using the helicopter for personal reasons, like going to retrieve his wife's purse.

When I said there wasn't much to shoot, I meant it. The helicopter is stored in an area we can't access so I had no way to get any shots. Thank goodness for FILE VIDEO. Old pot busts saved the day. Anytime they find a field of maryjuana out in the middle of nowhere, they use the helicopter to haul it out and we're usually there covering it. I did a little archive search, and found what I needed. Other than that, we shot a couple of interviews and a very exciting exterior of the Sheriff's department. *YAWN*...  Nothing terribly visual there.

As for the allegations against the deputy, the department is looking into it. One of the supervisors we interviewed thinks it might all be a misunderstanding, that the alleged "girlfriend" was actually a fellow deputy in plain clothes. It will all come to light soon, once they look at the FAA records for the flight. 

But until then... please... pretty please with sugar on top... let me have a nice VISUAL story tomorrow? Is that really too much to ask?  :)

Until tomorrow....

Later gators!

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