Cop Copter

I could count dozens of ways Southern California is oddly different from anywhere else I have lived, or traveled. With respect to the USA, I have been to every state—and Puerto Rico—but one: Hawaii. Among the oddities: Around San Diego, and presumably Los Angeles, helicopters frequently fly over with loudspeaker blaring some warning or notice.

“Suspect six-foot-ten black male wearing black hat, black hoodie, black jeans, and black backpack. Last seen scaling the fence at the 4500 block of Cleveland Avenue. Stay inside and lock your doors. Call 911 if you see suspect six-foot…” You know, repeats.

With the bird circling about—speaker pointing in different, moving directions—deciphering what warning is often challenging. If enough people post to Nextdoor quickly enough, the airborne message can be pieced together into cohesive statement. That’s assuming anyone bothers. Once a month (can be more) isn’t unusual for flyovers. Frequency numbs urgency and police chopper gibberish blends into the white noise of constant construction and passing vehicles.

On Sept. 14, 2023, during one of the circling flybys, I pointed Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra skyward and captured the Featured Image, which would be fairly meaningless minus the context above. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/800 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 2:03 p.m. PDT.