Pasadena Police (Foothill Air Support) MD500E helicopter delivered in 2009. Photo- Pasadena Police.The Pasadena Police Department's Air Operations Unit is a joint unit that serves a number of cities in the foot hills of the San Gabriel Mountains, thus the name Foothill Air Support or "FAST." The unit was originally formed by Pasadena Police in 1999 with interest from a number of neighboring cities. Today the unit serves 10 partner cities to include; the City of Alhambra, Arcadia, Covina, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, and Pomona, with Pasadena being the 10th city.
Pilot's in the Pasadena Air Support Unit are Pasadena Police Officers, with each partner city providing one "highly motivated" officer to fill the rol of tactical flight officer.
In the past the unit has operated the following aircraft;
2- Belll OH58 military surplus helicopters.
2- Enstrom F28 helicopters.
1- Enstrom 480 helicopter.
1- Bell 206 helicopter.
In 2009 the department accepted delivery of a new MD500E helicopter with the quieter 4 bladed tail rotor. The MD500E was selected to replace the department's aging fleet of helicopters.
In addition to the Foothill Air Support Unit the department dedicates one helicopter and crew to L.A. IMPACT - the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force. L.A. IMPACT is a narcotics task force formed in 1990 which brought three other regional drug and narcotic task forces under one unit, along with stated and federal agencies.
The unit flies out of it's own heliport near the 210 Freeway in Altadena California.