Air Operations - FAST

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Air Operations - FAST

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For the past five years, the South Pasadena Police Department has been involved with the Foothill Air Support Program (FAST).

FAST is a regional Air Support partnership founded in 1999 by then Pasadena Chief of Police Bernard Melekian. FAST provides a regional law enforcement helicopter air support program to enhance public safety services in the San Gabriel Valley. FAST also assists with Homeland Security checks at major sporting events in the San Gabriel Valley.

Currently, FAST is a partnership between the cities of Alhambra, Arcadia, Covina, Glendora, Monrovia, Pasadena, Pomona, San Marino, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena.

Participation in FAST requires each agency to provide an officer to perform the role of an observer, called a “Tactical Flight Officer” (TFO), twice a month. The TFO monitors radio transmissions from the partnering cities and prioritizes which calls to respond to. From its aerial view, the TFO can coordinate ground units and other resources.

The FAST helicopter was upgraded to include a Video Downlink System. This allows a live feed of an aerial view for ground units. Night Vision Goggles were also acquired to assist the TFO in locating suspects/persons at nighttime. The Night Vision Goggles along with the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system are an extension of the helicopter’s ability to help fight crime at night. FLIRs are thermal imaging and can detect body heat at night, while Night Vision Goggles allow the TFO to see in low light conditions.

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