Wichita, Kansas 2021-02-22 11:54:05 –
Topeka, Kansas (KSNT) – The Kansas Highway Patrol is demanding more money from lawmakers this year to renew its fleet of dilapidated aircraft. The agency maintains a fleet of four planes and one helicopter between the ages of nine and 43.
Cpt. Jason Vanderweide is the supervisor of the KHP aircraft unit. He said the unit received a record number of service calls in 2020. However, Vanderweide said last year he had to reject record 194 calls, mainly due to equipment failure and maintenance.
“They are wandering around looking for this missing child, and their equipment is out of order or the plane is down for maintenance because it is aging,” Cpt said. Vanderwide said. “The crew is very frustrated because they know they have the opportunity to find this person.”
Vanderweide said he began working with lawmakers on the issue three years ago. He said he wanted the fleet to be part of this year’s budget, but the COVID-19 pandemic struck and shortened the legislative assembly.
If a member approves the proposal, the funds will not be available until the next fiscal year beginning in July. Later, Vanderwide said it would take about a year to equip and deliver the aircraft.
“It was July 2022, before these aircraft were used,” said Vanderweide. “That’s why we need to act now so that we can’t be kicked any further.”
The aircraft unit searched for suspects and missing children and provided medical assistance during the pandemic. According to Vanderweide, the unit helped deliver equipment, tests and vaccines to hospitals throughout the state.
Kansas Highway Patrol asking lawmakers for money to update aircraft fleet Source link Kansas Highway Patrol asking lawmakers for money to update aircraft fleet