The McLennan County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit has been utilizing three OH-58 Bell helicopters obtained through the Federal 1208 surplus aircraft program for over two decades to supplement ground units for patrol. The aviation unit’s main mission is the detection and eradication of drugs and drug dealers in McLennan County. However, the helicopters also support public safety agencies within the county and surrounding counties for missions such as drowning and manhunt searches, photography, public relations, search and rescue, and vehicle pursuits.
The aviation unit’s helicopters are not used to transport prisoners, but are available for calls for assistance from public safety agencies within the county. The Aviation Unit can be reached through the Sheriff’s Office dispatcher at 254-757-5222.
Chief Pilot Shawn Nixon and Pilot Richard Studer, both skilled professionals, operate the aircraft. They have years of experience and have played an integral role in ensuring the success of the Aviation Unit’s mission. The acquisition of the helicopters through the Federal 1208 surplus aircraft program has proven to be a valuable asset in McLennan County’s fight against crime.
With the aviation unit’s continued operation, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department can better serve and protect the community.
Image: C & C Collision Center, LLC painted the McLennan County Sheriff’s Helicopter in 2019. Picture left to right are Mike Crosby (owner), Gustavo Medrano (body tech), Raul Medrano (body tech), Daniel Crosby (manager), and not pictured James Harmon (painter). Image by C & C Collision Center, LLC