HPD Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox died in a helicopter crash on Saturday 2 May.
The crash marks the first death in the history of the department’s Marine and Air Division, which has 11 aircraft, six patrol helicopters, three for training, one for search and rescue, and one airplane.
According to the United States Helicopter Safety Team fatalities are rare – out of a total of 122 accidents involving helicopter in 2019 in the US, 24 were fatal with 51 fatalities.
Daniel Schwarzbach, Director of the Airborne Public Safety Association, noted that there is a ‘great tactical advantage’ to the aerial perspective, whether that be a helicopter or airplane. However, while this is HPD’s first fatal crash, a minor crash happened in 2019. “Having two crashes like that is not normal within the same agency in that short amount of time. There’s something going on that needs to be looked at,” Schwarzbach commented.
Speaking about the loss of Knox, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said: "The City of Houston is heartbroken following the tragic death of HPD Officer Jason Knox. He was a dedicated public servant who inspired his fellow officers and worked to build meaningful relationships throughout the community.”