In a joint announcement with Baldwin Park, police announced an agreement Tuesday that calls for El Monte’s helicopter to patrol the skies above both cities with the operating costs split between them.
The El Monte Police Department’s recently acquired Robinson R-44 helicopter, capable of tracking a suspect at night with its infrared night vision, will begin patrolling the skies above Baldwin Park Thursday on a daily basis.
“We are going to patrol both cities as if they were one,” said Bill Ankeny, El Monte’s assistant police chief.
Ankeny said El Monte could not afford to operate the helicopter seven days a week on its own, and Baldwin Park was spending $140,000 annually to lease and operate its own helicopter. So the cities agreed to a mutual service pact whereby Baldwin Park will pay half the operating costs for the Robinson--$60 an hour for every hour in the sky.
Estimates show that should cost Baldwin Park about $70,000 a year, he said.
Last November, El Monte spent $380,000 on the newly developed helicopter.