MESQUITE, TX — They’re the eyes in the skies for Texas, keeping a watch down below. Yeah, the Texas DPS helicopter aids local law enforcement in catching the bad guys, as well as rescuing innocent people.
“They have many different aspects to the job, rather than just what people see on the ground with law enforcement,” said Lonny Haschel, Public Information Officer for Texas Highway Patrol. “Missing persons, high water rescues, that kind of thing.”
But while they do their jobs, they can run into a blinding problem: laser pointers directed at their choppers, and these pilots can tell you why that’s so terrifying.
“Whenever a green laser strikes the windshield or one of these side glasses, it reflects off of all the glass and back into our eyes,” said Saben Emery, one of the helicopter pilots. “And it’s devastating to the air crews ability to function.”
“That’s a dangerous thing to do and you’re looking at jail time if you get caught doing that,” Haschel also remarked.
Yeah, just this month a Dallas-area man was sentenced to 13 months in prison for shining a laser pointer at a DPS Helicopter. And this helicopter has all the tech to catch a perpetrator: A spotlight… FLIR infrared cameras… and a top notch flight crew.
So, while these guys are up in the air, helping keep the ground safe, don’t even think of shining a laser in their direction or their next assignment might be catching you!