LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety’s helicopter here in Lubbock takes just about five minutes to lift off after being dispatched, and it’s used more often than you may think. 

“We generally fly almost every single day, weather dependent,” said Kyler Purdue, a detective with the Lubbock Police Department. “We assist the tag narcotics and our crime suppression units a lot on different operations. And then we also assist all the federal agencies also.” 

According to DPS, when it comes to the helicopter, their partnership with Lubbock Police has been in place for a while, and all to fight for the same cause: keeping everyone safe.  

“If we have that helicopter that’s able to help keep track of where the suspect is going, then we can really try and back everyone off and hope that we create a more safer situation to where we can get the subject apprehended in safer conditions,” said Sgt. Bures.  

While that bird’s eye view comes in handy when following a car chase or helping in a search and rescue, Purdue said there’s a lot more inside the chopper that can be useful too.  

“Our camera system in the helicopter runs through GPS, so we also have a moving map that put them together so we can see exactly where the camera’s looking at,” described Purdue. “The camera has a daylight camera, a low light nighttime camera, and then also an infrared sees heat variations on different objects so we can find people in the dark.” 

After all the hard work is done, Sgt. Bures and Purdue are grateful to be a part of the organizations and their partnership that help protect the South Plains.  

“It’s a great partnership that we have with Lubbock PD and our other agencies, and [it’s] really great that we can come together and utilize both agencies because when we work together so well, it benefits everyone,” said Sgt. Bures. “Especially safety and benefits all the folks that are on the streets, on the roadway and traffic where these subjects may be weaving in and out of traffic and causing different hazards.” 

Both agencies also stress that it is illegal to shine a laser at any aircraft on both the state and federal level, which can be punishable with five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.