If you live in the state of California, you can now rest assured that no expense is being spared when it comes to high school football pregame ceremonies, proven once and for all by an official homecoming ball drop by a Department of Justice helicopter, a ceremony worth hundreds of taxpayer dollars.
As first reported by Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA, a Department of Justice (DOJ) helicopter that is traditionally used in drug busts, was instead employed to perform a ceremonial homecoming game ball drop at an El Dorado Hills (Cal.) Oak Ridge High football game. In the ceremony, a DOJ officer dropped a ball from the helicopter down to his son, who played for Oak Ridge.
You can see video of the ceremonial ball drop above.
Larry Wallace, the director of law enforcement for the DOJ admitted to KCRA that a DOJ helicopter had been used in the ball drop, which was filmed and later uploaded to YouTube. Wallace also said that the helicopter’s flight would have cost somewhere between $900-$1,300 dollars, all on the taxpayers dime (and not including any personnel expenses that may have been charged by those flying and riding in the chopper).
As the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association made clear, the ball drop didn’t seem to be the most legitimate use of taxpayer funds.
“I don’t think anybody looking at that will see a legitimate public purpose in the use of that helicopter,” Jon Coupal told KCRA. “I think there needs to be a thorough investigation into who authorized this, how much it cost, what was the reason behind this and basically, what were they thinking.
“It certainly doesn’t strike us that they were using that chopper to pull up marijuana plants out of the middle of the football field.”
While Wallace refused to divulge any discipline that was handed out to the agent who orchestrated the stunt, he did confirm that his entire department had established new approval protocols because of the misused helicopter flight.
“I’m going to personally approve any authorized use of that helicopter as we move forward, and that’s been put into place,” Wallace told the TV station.