New Helicopter Improves Safety

The most technologically advanced helicopter in the United States is now serving the Panhandle.

The more than three million dollar multipurpose helicopter is being unveiled today at its hanger located next to the Randall County Jail.

A three man Texas Department of Public Safety crew is using the helicopter to complete missions such as search and rescue, manhunts, and vehicle pursuits.

The aircraft includes thermal imagining cameras, daytime color cameras, and a laser to pinpoint a certain spot without using a spotlight.

Crew Member Wayne Beighle says, "The way it makes us safer is we're kind of a force multiplier with this aircraft. We can do the job of in the air of say half a dozen or 10 ground units especially like in a pursuit."

The thermal imagining cameras will not only help find criminals in the dark but help find missing people, especially in the Palo Duro Canyon area where visitors can go missing.

Beighle says the best part is the helicopter comes at no cost to taxpayers.

The hanger and the aircraft were purchased with seized drug money. This helicopter joins 14 other DPS helicopters in use around the state.