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#tbtonassignment: Follow our tweets from Tampa Police's helicopter

The Tampa police force has been around since 1886, when it started patrolling on horses and foot. Now, 127 years later, its crime-fighting tools include cars, bicycles and helicopters (not to mention specialized armored vehicles, weapons and communications equipment).

Times staff writer Paul Driscoll is familiar with these tools, because his father is Maj. Paul Driscoll, who commands District One for the department.

Seeking to share insight into some of the day-to-day work of the department, the younger Driscoll has secured permission to participate in a ride-along in both a patrol car and a patrol helicopter. But rather than write a traditional story, he'd like to take you along with him as he tweets about what he sees both nights.

His first ride is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today aboard the department's helicopter. In this Times exclusive, he'll be tweeting on his handle — @pdriscollTBT — and will be using the tag #tbtonassignment. You can follow along or look for his digital journal documenting the night on Saturday at

Then on Oct. 25, he'll ride along from 6 to 10 p.m. in a patrol car, crossing all of Tampa's three districts as they respond to calls. Follow along the same way, or catch up the next day on