Kansas Highway Patrols uses aircraft unit to catch suspects

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ryan Tauer's office is the sky, “it’s a majestic view looking out our window.”

He's a pilot for the aircraft unit and Friday he played a big part in tracking down a suspect trying to hide in a corn field.

He said, “if the person is moving through the corn fields you see the ripples in the corn.”

It all started when two people ran from police on the ground. They thought they were safe hiding overnight. Tauer says Goddard called upon his unit’s help to track down the suspect. He said, “once we got overhead it was probably within 5 minutes we caught the person running.”

Up thousands of feet above ground Tauer has a bird's eye view of what's going on. They were able to help deputies get into the field to take one of the suspects into custody. He said, “we've got a vantage point no body on the ground no one has and we are able to see the bigger picture and lead ground units into the spot.”

Tauer doesn't just rely on his eagle eyes to spot suspects on the run. This plane is equipped with a specialized camera system. He said, “when you see that thermal image of the suspect that you're looking for, I would say that that’s the greatest satisfaction out of my job, finding someone that thinks they've gotten away with eluding law enforcement.”

The unit relocated back to Wichita in 2016 and since then the pilots have not only assisted on manhunts and finding missing people but even transporting medicines and blood to people in need.

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