sponsored by FLIR Systems —
Earlier this month, the police in northeast Portland, Oregon, caught an armed robbery suspect. A car had been seen driving erratically. It eluded the police who, separately, learned of a armed robbery nearby at Original Joe’s. Suspecting that the two were related, they called in the Gang Enforcement Team, Canine Unit, and an air support unit equipped with a FLIR thermal imaging camera. They arrested a suspect, later identified as 43-year-old Kendall Jeris Kuhns, at Northeast 101st and Bell Drive. He is believed to have carried out the robbery.
The officers’ search of the area also located cash, clothing and a handgun believed to have been used in the robbery. The air support reported identifying a heat signature indicating another person hiding behind a fence. The second suspect was apprehended and identified as 47-year-old Gary Doser, who is suspected of driving the getaway driver. They were both booked into the Multnomah County Jail on robbery charges.
“This is an example of the outstanding police work we have come to expect from our officers,” said Assistant Chief of Operations Bob Day. “The community is safer because of these arrests.”
The FLIR camera was instrumental in capturing the suspect.
Late last year, the Corpus Christi, Texas, Police Department used a drone equipped with FLIR imaging technology to capture a pair of suspects that were reported to be carrying firearms near an elementary school. In the black and white video released online, three officers can be seen searching a backyard. The video was taken by the FLIR camera.
For law enforcement, a drone is quieter than a police helicopter would be and less likely to give away the presence of the police. While the drone is not specifically credited with making these arrests, it certainly helped law enforcement.
But not all FLIR-equipped police drones are used to apprehend suspects.
Thermal imaging detects heat sources. Early this year in Massachusetts, the State Police used the capability to locate a lost hiker. A woman hiking n western Massachusetts mountains, became lost in the dark. The State Police deployed an Air Wing with a FLIR camera and found the woman alone and cold; she was escorted out of the woods to safety.
At the time, FLIR General Manager Brian Giroux was quoted in a local paper as saying, “Our customers may be looking for a hiker in the woods, or they may be looking for a bad guy… it helps keep people safe and really makes a difference in the world.”
State Trooper Mike Wong, who is based in western Massachusetts, said, “It used to be only searches by the human eye, but thermal technology has improved our ability to see. We use it to look for people who want to be found, and for people who don’t want to be found.”
In addition to products targeted for law enforcement, FLIR manufactures products for consumers, including the Scout TK, a handheld monocular with thermal imaging. You can learn more about all FLIR products here.