TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas lawmaker is asking for a piece of specialty equipment to be returned to its home.
Texas House Representative Jay Dean is requesting the state return a DPS helicopter to its Gregg County home, so long as its not needed for further border control.
"If there's a point in time when the federal government is actually going to step up and take over border security as they signal," Dean said, "and they no longer need our helicopter, then we'd like to have it back."
The helicopter made it into the county in 2009, and has since been used by DPS for a variety of tasks. Notably, it has aided East Texas county sheriffs to locate marijuana fields hidden around the region. But in 2015, the helicopter was rerouted to the border to help with Operation Secure Texas.
Dean says he's glad the helicopter is serving law enforcement along the border, but in a floor amendment presented during this legislative session he writes that the asset should return "to its original base in Gregg County as soon as practicable, provided the Department of Public Safety determines that the return of the helicopter would not impair the conduct of border security activities..."
Since its loan, Dean says a specialty helicopter has been sent from Dallas to aid with specific law enforcement activity, and that takes time. He says it takes up to two hours to get the Dallas asset into East Texas, which can sometimes prevent local law enforcement from carrying out last minute, immediate operations.