Have you heard? 

A new sheriff is in town. And he isn’t riding a horse. He is your “eyes in the sky” and is most often called a drone.


A recent 2017 study by Bard College, showed that owning a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or drone is no longer a novelty.  Between 2006 and 2014 only a handful of public safety agencies reported any meaningful drone use.  Since then, over 200 local law enforcement departments have joined the remarkable and rapidly growing drone community. 

Drone with IR surveillance operation

Your department may already choose to deploy UAV technology in several of these operations:
  • Air support, surveillance
  • Search and rescue support
  • Hostage and active shooter support
  • Air drop supplies 
  • Outdoor crime photography
  • Outdoor bomb calls
  • Accident photography
  • SWAT support 

Your Drone is great, why IR?

IR save lives.

For years, infrared(IR) technology has protected the military. Since WWII, NVG’s and advanced scope sights have protected soldiers and prevented friendly fire casualties. 

Now, IR technology is cheaper. This permits police departments to beef-up drones with IR devices – Thermal cameras.  
Right now, hand-held thermal cameras are the “ go to” for ground operations. And SAR, Fugitive chases, and Swat operations reap the benefits of this life-saving technology every day.  
But for aerial operations, a thermal camera on a drone is mind-blowingly valuable.

Suspect cannot hide from a thermal camera

White hot view of officers and K9 in chase from aerial viewThermal cameras attached to a drone detect any heat source on the ground. 
People, animals, and vehicles give off this invisible heat energy.  This heat energy looks “white hot” or grey to the camera.
So, the camera screen shows a heat figure run, sit, climb, hide etc… 
In the case of a chase, the camera identifies and tracks the running suspect.  If the suspect tries to hide, he can’t. His heat energy is a dead give-a-away.

Eliminate your confusion in the chase

But with all this movement going on, how can you distinguish a suspect from the officers chasing him?
With thermal film! Theraml film on shoulder of man identifying him with black spot.
How will thermal film help you?
Thermal film, known on the streets as “thermals,”  identifies who is who and where they are. Unlike people, thermals do not give off invisible heat energy. 
Instead, they reflect the temperature from the cold sky. 
Therefore, instead of appearing the same contrast at its surroundings the film will appear the opposite (depending on the cameras contrast settings).  For example, the image shows a “white hot” setting, while the thermal patch on the officers shoulder is black. 
The results? 
No more guessing and quick accurate decisions, leads you to successful operations.

Thermals protect you against ambush 

The best way to see thermals on an officer is to attach them to their hat, shoulders, chest or upper back.
The black mark is clearly seen with the thermal camera. Therefore, the officer’s location is always visible. 
Because the suspect will NOT have a black mark, it’s easy to identify his location and movement. With the exact location of the suspect known, the officers in pursuit are protected from a possible ambush.  
The same holds true for vehicles.
For example, placing the thermal film on the roof of the car eliminates any confusion on a crowded road.  The location of the unit in pursuit is identified, tracked and protected. 
In the end, thermal film minimizes the risks officer face and protects them from harm. 

Possible challenges

Fog, smoke and clouds do not interfere with your view of the thermals. 
But water creates a barrier.  Therefore, operations underwater are null and void. In the case of rain, wipe off any water that puddles on the thermal marker.  No worries, water does not damage the film. 

Hug your loved ones at the end of your shift


Intrigued to give thermals a try?

Want to make each operation safer?

Don’t let doubt or budgets stop you from making a 5 minute phone call.

Find out how you qualify for a FREE SAMPLE.

Call Tom at  301.443.8885 or Tboyer@ir.tools

Our safety depends on your safety!

 The Author

Tom Boyer profile picture

Since 2006, Tom has been the driving force behind IR.Tools, dedicated to delivering top-notch infrared solutions to the military, law enforcement, and sportsmen communities.

What began with a single infrared patch has blossomed into a comprehensive store featuring hundreds of IFF patches, vehicle IFF, an extensive suite of thermal training targets, and tools for drone pilots.

Beyond his innovative products, Tom is passionate about educating users on infrared technology and showcasing how advancements in IR can enhance their operations.

Tom holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Regents University.

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