Law enforcement eye in the sky: Catching a criminal with a camera
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Dec. 28, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Everybody likes to see the bad guy get caught, but we don't usually get to see how that happens. Until now. The Pima County Sheriff's Department caught its man Wednesday and caught the entire chase on a high-tech camera.
It all started with a low-tech and low-life crime. Deputies said a man with a handgun stole cash, alcohol and cigarettes from the Circle K on Valencia Road and Camino de Oeste, southwest of Tucson. They spotted him later and brought out a discrete tool high in the sky: a plane equipped with an infrared camera.
Hovering thousands of feet above Drexel Heights, the deputy controlling the camera from inside the plane locked on to the suspected robber. The system recorded a gray-colored video, showing the pursuit.
“Passing Miller Elementary School,” the deputy told officers on the ground. “Still northbound.”
The video shows the man driving over spike strips on Camino de la Tierra. He eventually stopped and got out.
“He is running on foot,” the deputy said.
“He couldn't quite make it over what I would call it an eight- to ten-foot wall,” said Deputy James Iverson, referring to the suspected robber. “He fell off the wall and I happened to be there. We pointed our guns at him and he gave up.”
Iverson made the arrest. The sheriff's department reported 28-year-old Julio Martinez is now charged with armed robbery, running from law enforcement, drug possession and marijuana possession.
Iverson said the time from the armed robbery to the arrest was less than an hour.
“The airplane was right overhead immediately,” he said. “I was surprised.”
Iverson gives "a lot of credit" to the camera, the footage and the crew looking down from above.
The sheriff’s department plane is a Helio Courier and the camera a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera.