The El Monte Police Department Air Support Unit was started in 1993 as an experimental unit that provided aerial protection for the ground officers and citizens of the community. As time passed the importance of an aerial application to law enforcement proved to be a viable asset to the Police Department. Initial services were solely provided to the City of El Monte; however, as the success of the helicopter program grew so did the importance of growth.
Air Support began providing patrol services to the cities of Baldwin Park, Irwindale and Montebello. Eventually the cities of West Covina, Azusa and the Baldwin Park School District Police realized the importance of helicopter service and joined into the program. Currently this Unit operates three Robinson R-44 helicopters that are equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), searchlight, public address system, LoJack vehicle recovery system, and computerized moving map.
This Unit supports its regional partners seven days a week and has become recognized as one of the largest regional air support units in the country. In 2006 Air Support flew over two thousand hours in direct support of the patrol officer. Included in those flight hours, this Unit was responsible for over sixty arrests and the recovery of 41 LoJack-equipped stolen vehicles.