City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Department (HPD) Chief Art Acevedo dedicated the department’s newest helicopter to the memory of fallen Police Officer/Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox. Members of Officer Knox’s family also attended the ceremony, held at the HPD Air Support Division Hangar at Houston’s Hobby Airport.
Tragically, Officer Knox was killed in the line of duty on May 2, 2020, when the HPD helicopter he was in – 75 Fox – crashed while on a call-for-service. The HPD pilot for 75 Fox, Senior Police Officer Chase Cormier, suffered catastrophic injuries in the crash.
“Officer Jason Knox had a big heart and loved being a tactical flight police officer. He served our community with passion and professionalism, earning the respect of people throughout Houston,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Today’s dedication of a new H125 Airbus is a testament to Officer Knox’s devotion in law enforcement and is a salute to his unwavering years of service to our Houston Police Department. When we see this helicopter flying in the sky, we will know that his spirit lives on. The city of Houston will never forget his sacrifice.”
Officer Knox was known throughout the department and the community for his love of HPD history. As a personal hobby, he restored two Chevrolets, one from 1988 and the other from 1996, to period-correct HPD patrol vehicles, even researching the paint code needed to paint them in the custom HPD blue color. He would then drive these patrol cars, particularly the 1996 Chevrolet Caprice, in parades, car shows, and other public events.
“He was an officer who loved the policing profession, loved the community, and really loved coming to work every day and making other people smile,” said HPD Chief Acevedo. “He had a can-do attitude and a real spirit for being an ambassador for the department to build bridges and trust with the community.”
The H125 Airbus incorporates Officer Knox’s badge number of 2374 into its registration number, which is N2374F. The fuselage also features a vintage HPD blue stripe as a nod to Officer Knox’s passion for the department’s history.
“It’s going to have multi-mission capabilities,” said Chief Acevedo. “We not only have to fight violent crime and property crime, but the helicopter will assist with homeland security, search and rescue, and firefighting.”
The acquisition of the H125 Airbus is a first for HPD, which currently uses six MD 500E helicopters- mostly as patrol aircraft. One Bell 412 helicopter (which can be used for search and rescue operations) and three Sikorsky S-300C/Schweizer 269C helicopters (used strictly for training) round out the HPD air fleet.
The H125 Airbus has multi-mission capabilities allowing it to assist in patrol operations and search and rescue efforts. The helicopter’s standard crew will be one pilot and one Tactical Flight Officer. Not exceeding the Maximum Gross Weight of 5,225 pounds, the aircraft can also seat four passengers. The Airbus H125 is equipped with a variety of technologically advanced equipment to accomplish its different missions. The cutting-edge equipment includes:
The H125 Airbus, purchased from Davenport Aviation, Inc., was funded through a $7.5 million Texas Department of Public Safety grant. The purchase is the result of a four-year effort led by Mayor Turner, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and state Senator John Whitmire.
“We’ve got the right bird, with the right capabilities, and I’m really glad our first one gives us the opportunity to honor a great man. Jason will be sorely missed,” said HPD Chief Acevedo.