Randy Moore, Principal of
School, made it possible for his little brother, LTC Richard
Moore, Counterdrug Coordinator of the
Arkansas Army National Guard, to come to the school on February
3, 2004, with their Drug Enforcement surveillance helicopter. Richard
and other Army personnel were there to talk to and answer questions.
The National Guard is in the process of
changing out all the old UH-1 fleet with the new
H-60 Blackhawks, to operate one of these is about $2,700 an
hour. They don’t go out with the helicopter looking for plants and such
unless they are working for a law enforcement agency, whether it’s for
Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the
They don’t go unless they are asked for their assistance.
During the summer months, July through the end of September, they will
go wherever the law enforcement agency asks them. They do county by
county, maybe a county a day. “Wherever the law enforcement is working
they will tell us specifically what to look for,” Richard Moore said.
Michael Kelly, editor of
ArmchairHoodlum, asked “Does the government consider the
drug-ops cost effective? In other words, is it worth the money?” Richard
Moore believes “yes.” Going out and actually cutting the plants down is
part of it, and what they were doing at the school, what the Drug
Commander does, is just basically teaching the kids to just say no to
My mom, Christine, editor of
Gozarks, asked about
their general surveillance technology. Richard replied there is a lot of
current technology out there. Some of the stuff that this particular
helicopter is equipped with is a heat-seeking device. This is commonly
used in the event that someone is lost. If it is within the first 24
hours, they can fly at night and detect heat signatures, but after 24
hours it may be too late.
There is no surveillance done on “people” and no surveillance on
anything else unless there is a house that is a suspected drug house.
All other local resources (officer patrols, investigative techniques)
are used for detecting this kind of stuff, first. But, if local law
enforcement asks the Arkansas Army National Guard to look at a house
from the helicopter, the kind of things they are looking for include
people coming and going often, but not what is happening inside the
Meth labs put off a particular heat signature. If any house is putting
off this heat signature, they will be able to tell. They are not using
any x-ray technology.
No weapons are carried on the Drug Enforcement helicopter or on any of
the people on it. Michael asked if there have been any accidents with
helicopters. Richard said one, because of an engine failure.
Captain Dickinson piloted that helicopter. He received a “Broken Wing
Award” for the job that he did landing the aircraft in a field with hay
bales, ditches and other obstacles. That information and the rest of his
story will be printed in this month's "Flight Facts."
the helicopter is a thirty million candle power spotlight and the
infrared sensor/day camera with a seventy-two-times zoom on it. It has
six auto tracker functions. It can track a moving target, a stationary
target, a heat source and also it can track something that is gray or
any given color.
With the technology they have on the helicopter, they can pick a person
out of a crowd from one hundred feet, even sometimes from two hundred
feet or more, depending what they are looking for.
They have three helicopters plus light and heavy armored vehicles. The
heavy armored vehicle is a wheeled vehicle, not track. It is known to be
an impressive piece of machinery, and it will run about fifty miles an