The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has always been on the cutting edge of law enforcement and conservation efforts, and has proven itself an innovator and pioneer in the way they support their game wardens in the field. In keeping with that tradition of leadership and efficiency, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department revealed last week its new Airbus AS350B3e helicopter that will be used to enhance and strengthen the department’s law enforcement efforts across the state of Texas. The chopper will be particularly useful in allowing the department’s game wardens to carry out disaster response and search and rescue missions.
The Airbus is a marvel of modern aircraft technology and features state of the art law enforcement technological capabilities and emergency response equipment that have been described by department officials as “second to none.” Just a few of the helicopter’s technological features include thermal imaging, a public address system, rescue hoists, night vision capability, and satellite communication. The craft came at a cost of approximately $5 million and was funded by legislative appropriation which took place during the 83rd Texas Legislative session. The game wardens throughout the department have expressed how much they look forward to taking advantage of the chopper to better carry out their job duties.
TPWD Law Enforcement Director Colonel Craig Hunter stated that “this helicopter is going to be a tremendous asset and force multiplier for the Texas Game Wardens.” He added that the TGW will not only be able to more efficiently move personnel and equipment across the state, but with the addition of the new hoist system, will also have the ability to “better leverage our marine and ground assets to enhance our search and rescue capabilities during times of disaster.”
The Airbus is also advantageous in that it allows for the transport of multiple game wardens throughout the state including the capacity to carry the department’s K9 teams when conducting search and rescue missions.