Thermal camera is the future of fighting crime

The only industry a thermal camera has been used with success, until now, was the military.

Early on, thermal drone with thermal cameracameras were very expensive and only the military/government could afford them.  But now the demand for infrared technology across various industries is driving cost down. 

Law Enforcement agencies are among those taking advantage of the lower cost.  In the last 3 years, hundreds of helicopters, drones and special units deploy thermal cameras (FLIR) for daily operations.

The growing use of FLIR is great news yet it requires grasping how infrared devices work.


Good guy or suspect?

view with thermal cameraFirst, understanding how the camera works is critical.

There are a few more nuances than your point and click Canon for a family photo.

For example, the thermal camera “reads” the heat coming off of an object or person and projects this image back to the operator.

This heat picture shows contrast (black and white) of the scene being observed (depending on how your camera settings are adjusted).  As seen in the picture above, the men appear white hot and the surrounding trees appear black cold. While movement and the shape of the men are detected, the details of who they are, do not.

In the case of pursuing a suspect, the operator of the thermal camera would have difficulty distinguishing a good guy from a suspect. 


Tracking vehicles

Tracking a vehicle is just as challenging. A police car is difficult to distinguish from the rest of the cars on the road. The thermal operator is tasked with never taking his eyes off of the suspect vehicle.  At the same time he is tracking the police vehicle. This is difficult at best.

The inability to clearly distinguish the suspect vehicle from the police vehicle in pursuit is frustrating and potentially dangerous. 

How can officers reap the full benefit of a thermal camera(FLIR) without putting themselves in danger?

Thermal markers is the best answer.


Thermal markers eliminate the confusion

A12 thermal camera view of markerThermal markers made with thermal infrared film are now available to eliminate this confusion.

Easily attached to officers or vehicles, the marker will effectively detect who is who and where they are during the operation.

The marker will reflect back to the thermal camera a black or white signature (depending on camera settings), and clearly tell the operator where they are.

 As a result, the operator detects and command all assets without guessing.

This “silent partner”  is the future of police marking and will positively impact the use of thermal  cameras in fighting and preventing crime. 


Video shows how thermal markers differ from vinyl markers

Vinyl markers:  difficult to see at a distance, completely disappear in the dark, and are only visible with the naked eye.

Thermal markers:  visible 24/7 and clearly distinguish the police car from the other cars on the road.

To test the difference, we took a vinyl “K” and thermal “K” and laid them side by side on a police car. 

Watch video below and see the difference yourself!

You will see both markers with the naked eye.  But only the thermal marker is detected with the thermal camera.  The thermal “K” pops!

The difference is astounding!  Watch video!


Contact me today and discover how thermal markers will advance the use of your FLIR device and UAS.

These markers are currently available in black, 20″ letters and numbers or a custom design. 

I look forward to speaking with you. Call 443.292.8885, ask for Tom.


 The Author

Tom Boyer profile picture

Tom founded IR.Tools™ in 2006. He has embraced manufacturing premium IR patches, panels, thermal markers, and thermal targets to better protect and train the military and law enforcement communities. Always the innovator, he is always thinking out of the box. Currently he has 21 awarded patents, and 14 patents pending. Tom received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Univ. of MD, College Park and his MBA from Regents Univ.