April 24th, 2014Police from Cary, North Carolina, responded to a burglary in progress. After apprehending two suspects, officers learned about two armed suspects who had fled the scene when the police had arrived. K9 units tracked the suspects for more than two miles, which brought them to a dark wooded area.Officer Everett had entered the wooded area with his dog when he received a call over his radio. Another officer had scanned the area with a FLIR Systems LS-64 thermal imaging camera, which revealed the two suspects waiting just ahead of officer Everett.
“Stand down, they are waiting less than 20 yards from your position.”
Officer Everett was able to take cover with his dog. The two suspects were taken into custody without incident. Officer Everett later stated that he would have walked strait into the ambush unaware that the suspects were waiting for him. He finished by saying,
“Very nice piece of equipment, it is a must for any K9 team. It quite possibly saved some lives that night!”
Police Officers have the dangerous task of responding to situations in dark unknown environments. Worst case scenario is chasing a suspect into this environment. Officers should have every tactical advantage in these situations to stay safe when visibility is low.Traditionally the officer’s flashlight is his or her only tool available to illuminate the area; however, this tool also gives away the officer’s position reducing their tactical advantage. Thermal imaging is more effective and versatile.Traditional night vision reads reflected visible and infrared light. It is at best ok and at worst completely ineffective in extreme low light, no light, and low visibility situations. Conditions such as smoke, fog, rain and snow are nearly impossible for traditional night vision to be effective.
Thermal imaging on the other hand is a type of imaging that does not need visible light. Thermal imaging systems process the heat signature or thermal energy that objects emit. Every objects produces a distinct heat signature and FLIR thermal imagers can processes that information down to 1/100th of a degree.
By analyzing the heat differences between objects, thermal imagers are able to create a digitally reproduced picture. Since objects emit their own thermal light source law enforcement personnel are able to see what others cannot.
Thermal imaging gives the officer a tactical advantage while reducing liability and increasing their safety. There is no reason to stay in the dark.For more information on law enforcement and GSH sales contact Mike Carlow.