Police work is changing daily, and there are many more aids than there used to be. At one time, once it got dark the only equipment a police officer would have would be a couple of torches. Now there are hand held thermal imaging cameras and helicopters that can fly over a crime scene and use their thermal imaging equipment to locate suspects and items of interest.
Using the Camera
Rather than take a conventional picture, thermal imaging is being used more and more. A thermal image is made up of heat emissions and tends to be used when the aim is to find people who are hiding, or drug dens when the excessive heat needed to grow the plants will be easy to locate. The police have at times struggled to stay within the law as they have had to modify the way they search for drugs. They are not always allowed to locate the heat and then get a warrant to search, but need the warrant before they can look for the heat, then a further warrant for a search. It is now being challenged further and a tip off might no longer be enough to let them obtain a warrant.
Scope of the Cameras
Infrared cameras can be used to get long range readings and while they do not show a clear image it does indicate the location of the person or article being searched for. A special feature of the camera is that they can see through items that are placed in the way – an example being roofs when it is a drug search. Weather is no problem as the only thing that will be identified is heat, so the onsite of night or a thick fog will not impede the image taking.
Cameras are being used to find illegal immigrants trying to enter a country. The Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol are tasked with protecting borders and ensuring that they are not breached and this needs the use of equipment not just man power. A simple way for people to cross borders is in the back of lorries, or on boats as they are going through ports. With the use of infrared cameras their body heat will be picked up and it will be clear that there are people in the back of the lorry. Diseases are also being identified and kept out of certain countries thanks to heat seeking cameras. China and Singapore are using this technology to identify the SARS virus and it is hope this will keep them free of the fever.
The cameras are also helpful when looking for people that have been reported lost. This could be as the result of a crash and the car’s occupants are not able to look for help, but also for walkers who have become isolated in a large open space. Although it will pick up body heat from animals as well, there is more of a chance to find the missing person than without the camera.
Today’s guest post is submitted by Jason Penn. He is a passionate blogger who blogs on a wide variety of topics. He feels that a high quality tactical gear is a must for all armed forces personnel.