The El Monte Police Department Air Support Unit operates three Robinson R-44 piston powered helicopters in support of police department patrol and special missions.
The helicopter unit was first formed in 1993 on an experimental basis. However, the El Monte Police Air Support Unit quickly proved that having a police helicopter over their city was a benefit for both the police officers on the ground and the citizens.
Over time neighboring cities also recognized the benefit of the police helicopter unit and came on board as partners in the program. Today the El Monte Police Region One Air Support provides services for West Covina, Azusa, Irwindale, Baldwin Park, Montebello, and even the Baldwin Park School District Police Department.
While the piston powered R-44 may not always garner the accolades of it's turbine powered rotor wing counterparts, it is none nonetheless a capable helicopter.
El Monte's R-44 police helicopters carry the same hi-tech equipment as more expensive police and sheriff's helicopters; Equipment such as moving maps, heat sensing infra-red cameras, P.A. systems, and high powered spot lights.