Thermal imaging technology offers law enforcement officers the ability to see their surroundings in a brand new way, offering an identifiable and reliable “heat picture” of their environment. With the help of thermal imagers, officers can more effectively manage surveillance activities, locate and apprehend suspects, investigate crime scenes and conduct search and rescue operations.
1. Hidden Compartments
There is a common misconception that thermal imagers can see through objects such as walls. Thermal imagers do not provide x-ray vision, but only detect heat radiated from surfaces.
2. Search and Rescue
A thermal imager eases search efforts in large fields, at parks, near roadways, and even in wooded areas. Searches near bodies of water also offer opportunities to use a thermal imager. As long as the victim is not completely submerged, his body heat should be detected by the thermal imager. By combining use of the thermal imager with the use of spotlights and flashlights, officers can search on and around bodies of water more quickly and more effectively.
3. Locating Evidence
Weapons and drugs tossed by a fleeing suspect, or even casually dropped as an officer approaches, will generally yield a latent thermal image. Officers with thermal imagers can scan the immediate area around the suspect, or the path of pursuit, to locate potential evidence.
During crime scene investigations, the thermal imager can aid in the recovery of evidence that may be hard to detect with a flashlight and the human eye. Hotter objects, such as recently fired weapons or ejected shell casings, should generate stronger thermal images.