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Angeles County | Community News File / El Monte

Council to Vote on New Police Helicopter

October 13, 1998

The Police Department is seeking city approval to buy a larger and faster helicopter to replace its existing aircraft.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the purchase of a Robinson R-44 helicopter at tonight's council meeting.

If approved, El Monte police would be the first local department to put the R-44 into service. The R-44 is a four-seater with a top speed in excess of 160 mph.

The R-44 is fitted with a state-of-the art infrared sensor that allows it to pinpoint suspects on the ground and track them in total darkness using their body heat, city officials said.

The helicopter, which cost $378,000, would be paid for by a state grant.

City officials said the department's existing helicopter is close to needing a major overhaul.

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