Winnipeg police have apologized and launched an investigation after officers flying in a helicopter mistakenly broadcast a cockpit conversation that one person says referred to a sex act.
Const. Jason Michalyshen said three officers were on routine patrol Monday night when they inadvertently turned on the chopper’s public address system.
They didn’t know many in the city could hear their workplace chatter which witnesses said ranged from swearing to talking about money and sex.
“The involved members were not able to hear the public address system from within the aircraft. They became aware their conversation had been broadcast and immediately turned the system off,” he said.
“The Winnipeg Police Service, the flight operations unit and the involved members sincerely apologize to all members of the public, especially those who overheard the broadcast.”
Michalyshen was tight-lipped about details of the incident but said some of the remarks in the conversation were inappropriate.
The matter is being reviewed by the police service and disciplinary action could be taken as a result, he said.
“I can assure you that members of the executive are very much aware of the sensitivity and the nature of what was broadcast,” Michalyshen said. “They will be looking into it and ultimately make a determination from there.”
The R-rated conversation came to light when people took to social media using the hashtags #whoops and #speakerphone. One tweet said the chatter included remarks about oral sex.
“Having a backyard hang out with the gals and the megaphone on that chopper was loud and clear,” Natanielle Felicitas tweeted around 10 p.m. Monday night.
Others snippets of the conversation included “too much body hair,” she wrote.
Stephen Kernaghan was hanging out by the Manitoba legislature building with friends when they heard someone talking through what sounded like a megaphone. It took a few minutes to figure out the conversation was coming from the helicopter flying overhead.
“It was very bizarre. They were cursing quite a bit,” said the 26-year-old English teacher. “They’re talking about how someone only makes $600 a week … We caught the tamer version which is sort of a shame.”
Kernaghan said the group listened to the conversation for about three or four minutes before the public address system was abruptly turned off.
“Maybe they were saying some racy stuff but … I just kind of feel bad for the guys,” Kernaghan said.
“Everyone makes some dumb mistakes at some point and it’s a shame when it’s so public. There almost couldn’t be any more public mistake — they were literally broadcasting their conversation for everyone to hear in downtown Winnipeg.”