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Sheriffs Department Seeking Air Power

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The Harris County Sheriff's Department – largest sheriff's department in the state and third largest in the nation – wants to get caught up with its peers and have some aerial support.

The department doesn't have any helicopters or planes, so Eyes on the Border, a border watch group, was going to donate the plane it originally bought for sheriff's departments near the border (before they discovered the border sheriffs couldn't afford the plane). The County Commission was scheduled to vote on the donation this morning, but the sheriff's department withdrew the request at the meeting.

"They probably got wind of the fact that the court had some questions, and they wanted time to respond," says Joe Stinebaker, communications director for the Commissioners Court.

So Harris County will continue as the largest sheriff's department without any deputies in the sky.

Chief Danny Billingsley told the commissioners that the department recently tried to work out a contract with Silver State Helicopters, a private company that would've provided planes and helicopters and pilots, but that deal fell through.

-- Paul Knight

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