New DPS airplane named in honor of fallen trooper

ErnestoAUSTIN – The Texas Depart­ment of Public Safety (DPS) today dedicated its newest airplane, a Pilatus PC-12 NG, at a ceremony in Edinburg. The aircraft is being named in honor of the late Troop­er Ernesto Alanis, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while making a traffic stop near McAllen in February of 1983. Several mem­bers of Alanis’ family attended the ceremony.

“Trooper Alanis was a man who took the DPS mission to heart and whose selfless service to this de­partment and Texas will always be cherished, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten,” said Public Safety Commissioner Cynthia Leon. “I am extremely honored to be part of such a special ceremony today, as we name this new aircraft in honor of Trooper Alanis to pay tribute to his life and service to our state.”

“Texas State Trooper Ernesto Alanis made the ultimate sacrifice in his service to DPS and the State of Texas, and he was committed to protecting the communities in which he served, including the Rio Grande Valley where he was born and raised,” said State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, vice-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “It is a fitting tribute to him and his family that his spirit will live on forever in the dedication of this aircraft, named in his honor. The Ernesto Alanis will build on his legacy of protecting and serving the people of Texas.”

The Pilatus, which accommodates as many as two pilots and seven passengers, can reach an altitude of 30,000 feet and travel as fast as 322 mph. It features state-of-the-art equipment, including an L-3 camera system with an infrared/color video camera, and a Churchill mapping system with the ability, for example, to map the area around a fire or assist in search and rescue operations. In ad­dition, the plane is equipped with a variety of radios, and features technology that enables communication between several first re­sponder agencies…

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