NASHVILLE - Shoppers in Nashville may have seen something in the sky during their Black Friday holiday spending, but it wasn't Santa Claus.
The aviation unit from Metro Nashville police flew over the busiest shopping centers in the area on one of the busiest shopping days of the year as part of an effort to tamp down on those who find themselves on the naughty list by committing a crime.
Sgt. Kurt Knapp told WKRN-TV in Nashville the pilots offer in-air surveillance for patrol units on the ground.
"We can prevent crime and car break-ins and monitor traffic, especially around Opry Mills and the Nashville West areas," Knapp said.
Two of the helicopters are equipped with thermal imaging technology, and the pilots all fly with night vision goggles for nighttime operations. Helicopters will patrol various areas at various times during the long shopping weekend.
The helicopters flew at about 500 feet above the ground. Knapp says that height gave the pilots a clear view of the parking lots and shopping centers.
"Knowing and seeing that the helicopter is there may make a criminal think twice about doing what they are doing," Knapp said.