Texas DPS unveils new plane named in honor of fallen Trooper Ernesto Alanis

EDINBURGH, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - The Texas Department of Public Safety has named the newest addition to their aircraft fleet in honor of a fallen DPS Trooper.

The Ernesto Alanis was unveiled in a ceremony in Edinburgh, Texas. The new plane, a Pilatus PC-12 NG, was named in honor of late Trooper Ernesto Alanis, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver during a traffic stop near McAllen, Texas in 1983.

“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 new plane can hold 2 pilots and up to 7 passengers. It's state-of-the-art equipment includes an infrared/color video L-3 camera system, a Churchill mapping system, and a variety of radios that enable communications between several agencies.

The new plane will be stationed in Edinburgh, and will primarily be used to support law enforcement along the Texas-Mexico border. The Ernesto Alanis will also be used for various public safety missions across Texas. Funding for the plane was appropriated by the 85th Legislative Session that just wrapped up in Austin.

The DPS fleet now totals 24 aircraft, including 9 planes and 15 helicopters. This is the second Pilatus aircraft for the department.

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