FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Rick Mirabito
Mirabito proposes resolution to return aviation unit to Williamsport
HARRISBURG, May 9 – State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, has introduced a resolution which calls on the Pennsylvania State Police to reinstate operations of Aviation Patrol Unit IV to the Williamsport Regional Airport.
"My constituents have expressed concerns they have about this drastic change," Mirabito said. "Unit IV has served Lycoming County residents since its establishment in 1968." Other counties served by the aviation unit are: Bradford, Cameron, Clinton, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Sullivan, Tioga and Union.
"The aviation units provide service to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies by conducting searches, criminal surveillance, homeland security missions, aerial photography and transports," Mirabito said. "The units also have been available to assist in vehicle pursuits, marijuana eradication and other services. It has become instrumental in providing protective services during the growth of the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations. By moving the Williamsport unit to Hazleton, it takes the services that much farther away from the people who would utilize it."
The services were moved to the Unit II-based Hazleton Municipal Airport at the end of January by the Pennsylvania State Police. Mirabito has conducted an online petition about the aviation unit on his website, www.pahouse.com/Mirabito.
"I believe this issue should be considered as part of the state budget negotiations," Mirabito said. "The people of north central Pennsylvania deserve the immediacy a Williamsport-based service could provide."
House Resolution 725 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.