Originally developed for the U.S. Military to provide clear vision at night without using illuminators or searchlights, thermal imaging technology has significantly widen its applications over the years.
Law enforcement officers are now equipped with powerful visual aids to make our world a safer place, while thermal imagers are also made available for civilian.
Want to see how does thermal imaging help law enforcers, including helicopter footages?
In this post, you’ll discover the followings:
- Thermal Imaging Application for Law Enforcement at a Glance
- Videos and Footage: Thermal Imaging for Law Enforcement, Search, etc
- Top Thermal Imagers for Civilian and Personal Security of Yourself + Your Familiy
FLIR Scout TK
FLIR Scout III 240
Thermal Imaging for Law Enforcement at a Glance
Many police officers have abandoned the use of flashlights and other conventional methods, and changed to thermal imaging as a much more effective solution that operates under low or zero lighting conditions.
With thermal imaging technology, law enforcers have been able to detect hidden elements at night with ease, and this is also possible during the day. Thermal imaging has made personal security and trailing of victims, suspects and weapons a lot easier than before.
The excellent video below demonstrates the use of thermal imagers for law enforcement:
If you like technical details, then watch this webinar to learn more on the capabilities and application of aerial thermal imaging drones for public safety:
Actual Applications and Videos: Thermal Imaging for Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, etc.
With thermal imaging technology, law enforcement officers have been able to monitor law breakers in darkness, and find fugitives or suspects hiding in places that flash lights and naked eyes may not see – including in bad weather.
Recommended read: Thermal Imaging vs Night Vision – Comparison and Videos
Here are some excellent videos on actual applications of thermal imaging for law enforcement, rescue and search operations, fire-fighting, personal security etc:
Helicopter Footages of Thermal Imaging Helped Crime Fighting
Run away suspects are notorious for hiding in the bushes to resist and avoid arrests. Most of the time, these suspects will hide in thick bushes thinking that they might escape and get away with it – especially at night.
Thermal imaging has become a game changer, as suspects can now be located and flushed out easily at night using thermal imaging technology.
For instance, the helicopter footage in this video shows the commanding view offered by aerial FLIR thermal imager guides a police officer and his dog directly to a suspect:
In another case, Ohio State Highway Patrol’s aviation unit with thermal camera responded to assist Westerville police officers to capture a robbery suspect here:
Stolen cars can be located at night easily using thermal night vision camera. This can be from the ground, in a moving vehicle and even from the air above using police helicopters.
Considering that cars produce heat, it becomes easy for thermal camera to locate them and track them with ease. There are a variety of night vision assistive devises but none may be able to beat those that uses thermal imaging sensors.
The video below shows Winnipeg police’s helicopter locked eyes on a stolen SUV shortly after midnight, when the man was eventually arrested:
CNN news has also recorded the footage of a helicopter ride that shows the Massachusetts State Police applied thermal imaging technology to man-hunt and capture a Boston bomber:
In another actual case study shown below, police use thermal imaging drone to swoop on suspected illegal hunters, whereby Lincolnshire Police arrested deer poachers who were hiding in their car in woodland:
Recommended read: 3 ‘Cheap’ Affordable Thermal Rifle Scope For Wild Hog Hunting
Thermal Imaging for Rescue Operations and Fire-Fighting
Missing persons can now days be located with ease during the night using thermal imaging.
With thermal imaging, it has been possible for rescue officers to mount a search and rescue mission using aerial thermal imaging. From a drone or helicopter flying at a lower altitude, thermal cameras becomes handy in locating a lost person and cut search times.
Let’s start with the following video with demonstration on how thermal imaging helps to search and rescue:
The thermal video below shows Michigan State Police helicopter searching for a missing hunter who was trapped in the woods:
Also, think about fire fighters, how difficult is it when a firefighter tries to locate a victim in a house full of smoke or dark. Without a thermal imaging camera, it may take more than thirty minutes or even hours.
A hand held imaging camera has proved helpful to the fire fighters by pin pointing the exact location of victim. It also helps in determining the difference in heat degrees to help the firefighters to concentrate on sections with huge fire.
So it is no surprise to see that the Los Angeles Fire Department deployed 1,000 new hand-held thermal imaging cameras as a cutting-edge tool to investigate the sources of heat at a variety of incident types, and improve the safety of firefighter and civilian:
Thermal Imaging Camera for Routine Patrols and Surveillance
Thermal imaging can come across to be helpful and aid effectiveness in the officer safety too, as it has huge importance and value in perimeter surveillance.
It can provide the officers with tips about the crime before it happens, while heat seeking camera are crucial for night seeking and that can significantly enhance public safety and personal security. In simple, we would say that this technology is capable to catch the things they would never have seen before.
Portable handheld thermal imagers can help police, law enforcement officers and security officers in surveillance situations by detecting the heat signatures of people and objects whilst on routine patrols – to protect the officers and prevent crime.
Additionally, thermal camera or thermal imaging monocular can help to search for evidence at a crime scene.
For instance, when suspects drop evidence such as drugs or weapons, these items can often be detected with a thermal imager, because the suspect’s body heat warms the items and makes them stand out against cooler environments.
Watch this video to see how handheld thermal camera helped Sgt. Jonathan Bastian:
For marine surveillance on the water, the use of thermal imagers has come across to be worth mentioning. They provide aid in the nighttime navigation, and also help locate and track vessels, and also in the range of the invaluable for undercover and stakeout operations.
Thermal imaging technology has the ability as where they can easily see through smoke, as well as dust, and haze to improve safety on the water. As always, thermal imager allows the group of investigators to conduct surveillance as to be totally undetected.
Below is a great video that shows examples of thermal and multi-sensor imaging systems for the maritime law enforcement professional and first responders, with the applications include navigation and long-range surveillance:
Top Thermal Imagers for Civilian and Personal Security
Thermal cameras are efficient and more useful than normal cameras, because they see heat and not light. They work both during the night and during the day.
Good news is, thermal imaging is no longer restricted for military and law enforcement, as manufacturers have developed affordable thermal imaging cameras for civilians like us.
For instance, more and more home owners are now turning to outdoor thermal security cameras because they are more useful at night than the ordinary CCTV cameras. That has in exchange helped them secure their homes against illegal entry during the night:
Equipped with the ability to see whatever the prevailing lighting levels and weather conditions, thermal imager is also an excellent portable tool that offers additional personal security when you walk in the dark, go to car park at night, and when you want to check for suspicious person in neighborhood or around the perimeter of your house etc.
Recommended read: Walking in the Dark at Night – 7 Best Safety / Security Products
If you are looking for ways to help prevent crime whilst improve personal security of yourself and your family, then here are the top 3 portable thermal imager to consider – which is great law enforcement gift idea too!
#1: FLIR Scout TK Pocket-Sized Thermal Monocular
This is the complete advanced designed form of the handheld monocular that is best meant for outdoor exploration, all along with security applications.
Thermal imager is effective in terms of defecting the infrared light that is normally known as a threat for the sake of providing an image whether it is night or day, foggy or clear. It is powerful much to detect the heat left behind by a person recently sitting on a park bench, or even an animal recently sleeping nearby.
The excellent video below covers detailed review on the features and capability of FLIR Scout TK, including sample images of this thermal imaging monocular:
While it was mentioned in the video that the cost of FLIR Scout TK was $599, good news is that its price has dropped over the years.
You can check out this thermal imager and its latest price >> at Amazon.
As the imaging has been concerned, so it is providing away with the 160 x 120-pixel FLIR Lepton thermal core. In the first look, the resolution will come across to be much small. But it is enough to perform away your applications.
The range of the temperature that is visible to the Scout TK is likely -4 to 248 °F (-20 to 120 °C). This would be giving it the set of ability to render on with most of the extreme level of natural conditions.
As in favor of getting on with the better long-range detection capability, the FLIR Scout TK is fitted by means of the 20-degree lens. This will narrow down the field of vision but at the same time yields better imaging over longer distances. The lens is fixed but offer away with the best performance. Each single of the pixel is covering roughly an 8-inch square.
The Scout TK can store around up to 1000 images or around the duration of 4 hours of video to onboard flash memory. Images are normally saved by means of depressing the capture button straight on top of the camera. It is hence easily accomplished without taking your eyes away from the target. You can also download the saved media by means of the micro USB port on top of the unit.
More info and footage of this thermal monocular are as shown in the video below:
The FLIR Scout TK generally performs the task as by using away with the four buttons to control all kinds of common functions of the device:
- After pressing the Power button, the camera will come to function in just 4 seconds.
- The button of brightness will be helpful as to adjust the eyepiece brightness between the course of the several preset levels.
- The Capture button saves the still images as all through by giving the short push and the long push will be starting the video recording setup.
- You can also press the palette button as in terms of selecting as between six color palettes including common favorites such as Iron, Black and White, and Rainbow. The InstAlert palette hence renders away the scene in the black and white and then it will automatically highlight anything significantly warmer in a red color. In the end, the final external control on the Scout TK is much mentioned to be adjustable diopter and is often used to dial in the best image on top of the eyepiece.
#2: FLIR Scout III-240 Thermal Monocular
The next-generation of FLIR’s previous Scout II series, the Scout III is designed out in getting the clear set of images. In the 30Hz frame rate, it is standard and attends with the smoother viewing experience that displays lifelike thermal video!
Light in weight and much easy to use, the FLIR Scout III’s advanced thermal technology will help you out as to detect the body heat of animals and humans through weather conditions both during the daytime and so as for at night with no drop-in performance.
You would also be able to as see through the sparse foliage and also a wide range of the conditions. It is much ideal considered as for the legal hunting, for camping or for simply exploring the outdoors.
The Scout III 240 is basically categorized out to be the entry-level model in the Scout III series that is best suited for users looking for a starting thermal camera for your purpose of outdoor conditions.
The camera can hence often detect the body heat of a man-sized target at a ranging distance of up to 380 yards (350m) from the user. You do not need to get into the training required to learn the skills for using the FLIR models.
They are designed in simple framing with the setting of simple button interface on top of the camera for access to functions that hence change color palettes, power on/off and adjust screen brightness and can be operated and held in just one hand.
It would also make your offer with the wide range of other benefits too. It has the 5-hour rechargeable lithium ion battery, and so as the super-fast startup in under 2 seconds. It has the brilliant and excellent quality thermal image quality of 240 x 180 pixels.
Equipped with strong built-in thermal detector with the resolution of 240 x 180 pixels. It simply gets started in just 2 seconds with the freeze frame mode. It is suitable to be used even by the beginner as it has a simple interface.
It has the built-in LED task light that is operational when the imager is powered off. It has the adjustable brightness levels. It has the 640 x 480-pixel display with the video output jack.
It is best powered by internal rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with a life of more than five hours. Plus, the camera is IP67 rated and is even suitable for being submerged in water. It is light in weight with around 12 ounces that makes it much comfortable to hold and operate using just one hand.
The package box includes FLIR Scout III 240 thermal camera, USB power adapter/charger, wrist strap, USB cable quick start guide, and molle carrying bag.
>> Learn more on this FLIR Scout II 240 as Best Popular Mid-Range Thermal Imager
#3: Breach PTQ136 Multifunctional Thermal Monocular
The FLIR Breach PTQ136 320 x 256 Thermal Monocular is involved in detecting away the thermal signatures of the objects and hence let them spot suspects, intruders, wildlife, and other warm objects in total darkness. As because of the thermal imaging nature, it will also be allowing you as to see through the smoke as well as fog, and light foliage.
In order to get the complete provision of the penetrating vision of the thermal, the FLIR has been outfitting with the Boson VOx microbolometer that is featuring a 320 x 256-pixel resolution, long-wave infrared sensitivity, and so as the 60 Hz refresh rate.
The video below gives an excellent overview on FLIR Breach PTQ136 as one of the smallest and lightest high quality thermal monocular available on the market:
All through the helping assistance of internal electronics and a 1280 x 960 Quad-VGA FLCO display, you would be able to view or save the image in the high contrast, and enhance it with FLIR’s proprietary Digital Detail Enhancement feature with seven color palettes from which you can make the selection out.
In order to enhance the experience of viewing, the product is providing with the 1-4x digital zoom and a short 0.82′ minimum focusing distance. You can save on with the range of 1000 still images or 2.5 hours of video on internal memory and also get it to transfer them later to your computer via a built-in USB Type-C port.
It is light in weight that is around 7.4 oz and is adjusted with the durable polymer body that is is waterproof and at the same time, it is impact-resistant. The device is also providing away with the wide-winged rubber eyecup to ensure comfortable contact with your face and to stop away from the leakage of light.
Plus, you will also be finding the mounting rail that is much compatible with many optional FLIR adapters as for attaching the monocular to headgear or firearms. On the top, it has a control pad with the means of the buttons and a CR-123A battery compartment with the addition of the tethered cap.
It will attend with the 1280 x 960 Quad-VGA FLCO high-definition display and has the FLIR Proprietary Digital Detail Enhancement. White Hot, Black Hot, Rainbow HC, Ironbow, Sepia, Arctic, and Outdoor Alert are some of its common image palettes.
Its internal memory is able to store with almost1000 images or 2.5 hours of video and has the excellent digital video output. It has been featured on with at least 1.5-second wake-up time and has digital compass and inclinometer. It is best compatible with select FLIR mounting adapters.
It is constructed with the use of winged rubber eyecup and with the red battery cap and the mounting point for headgear and firearms. It has the compact and ergonomic body and can accommodate one CR-123A battery.