Law Enforcement Applications

Topics: Infrared, Thermography, Thermographic camera Pages: 2 (667 words) Published: November 18, 2007
Objects around us give off heat to some degree, and that heat is made up of long wavelength infrared radiation that the human eye cannot see. Thermal imaging uses a sensor to convert the radiation into a visible light picture. Not only does this picture help us identify objects in total darkness, or through dense smoke, but the sensor information can be used to measure temperature differences as well. New uses for thermal imaging are emerging more and more as the technology becomes more common place in law enforcement. Thermal imaging technology is proving to be a valuable tool in locating and collecting evidence at crime scenes to include traffic accident investigations, locating illicit outdoor and indoor marijuana grow sites, hostage situations, criminal search, and much more. The suitability of thermal imaging technologies for different operational scenarios may be affected by target characteristics. Thermal imaging devices may be mounted to a vehicle or building, or can be handheld. Thermal imaging is particularly useful at night to locate threats such as suspects, dogs, or other dangers to the first responder. It can be applied to finding lost children, or a fugitive, and locating animals in dense foliage or darkness. These devices are used as force multipliers in search and rescue operations to cover large search areas faster and more accurately. Other uses for thermal imagery include accurate measurement of skid marks at an accident scene, defining splattered blood location that has been wiped off, positive facial recognition, and defining pollutants in water or air in total darkness. With a thermal imager, the officers can successfully apprehend a fugitive in a much shorter time than typical searches would take without thermal imaging. Using thermal imaging can be low cost too. Infrared devices have been extremely useful in various law enforcement activities for a number of years. The use of an infrared camera enhances an officer's night vision...
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