THP assigns helicopter to West Tennessee

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Highway Patrol is assigning a helicopter and pilot to support law enforcement efforts in West Tennessee.

Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and THP Col. Tracy Trott said Friday that the helicopter will enhance public safety by increasing response time to incidents in the western areas of the state.

The helicopter, a 206 B Bell Jet Ranger, will be based in Jackson. It is equipped with a powerful searchlight, specialized radios, night vision and infra-red technology that produces a thermal image of a person.

Officials said the aircraft could be used to help with vehicle surveillance, vehicle and foot pursuits, and searches for criminal suspects or missing people. It also can be used in search-and-rescue missions and to assist after a natural disaster.

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