Thermal cameras valuable tool for police
The WTMJ News Team
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
CREATED Apr. 21, 2013
MILWAUKEE -- "You couldn't see him with your regular eye, but you could see his heat signature through the cover which was allowing the heat to escape."
Officer Chris Boss describes the thermal imaging technology police in Boston used to find Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The FLIR system, which stands for forward-looking infrared, is already being used here by the Milwaukee Police Department.
The department has equipped two harbor patrol boats wit the FLIR system. This weekend they added a third. The cameras paint a picture on a screen based on heat from objects and people. The technology of the FLIR system is so sophisticated it can spot the heat signature from a person up to a half mile away.
Back in 2011 MPD used it to find injured boaters after their craft smashed into a breakwall near the Summerfest grounds. During the manhunt in Massachusetts, you can see the outline of Tsarnaev's body and even the explosions from the flash grenades going off.
"It looks like with this type of technology, it's harder to be a criminal these days," said Boss, "In a lot of situations where we wouldn't have been able to see you, now we can."
In addition to the units on the boats, MPD has handheld units to help locate criminals on the run.