AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas is the only border state that allows and trains its officers to fire on suspects from airborne helicopters, a policy the state's Department of Public Safety says is necessary to combat increasing drug and human trafficking operations.
The Austin American-Statesman reports Sunday that California, Arizona and New Mexico do not all have rules barring troopers from firing from the air, but that it is clear to them that this would not be permitted because it is too risky. The three states and Texas share a border with Mexico.
The newspaper reports Texas trains officers to fire from the air. Trooper Miguel Avila, whose shots from a helicopter killed two unarmed illegal immigrants from Guatemala last month, received 44 hours of specialized training in aircraft operations and tactical shooting.